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S. Korea wants to push U.S. on trade

Scott Tong Nov 18, 2009
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S. Korea wants to push U.S. on trade

Scott Tong Nov 18, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama has wrapped up his trip to China. After three days of happy talk but little in the way of agreements. The same may hold true on his next, and last stop in Asia: South Korea. Expectations are low, unless there’s a surprise on the trade front. From Shanghai, here’s Marketplace’s Scott Tong.


Scott Tong: South Korean officials want to push the president on free trade. Washington and Seoul have already hammered out a broad-ranging deal. It just needs to be ratified by lawmakers on both sides. If it happens, U.S. industry would benefit from lower tariffs in the Korea market.

Economist Chan Guk Huh says take American airplanes:

Chan Guk Huh: Korean buyers have options of Boeing or Airbus. And a little bit of advantage can tip the scale.

Korea’s ready to ratify, but top congressional Democrats are not. Mainly, they say it’s unfair to U.S. automakers. They want to renegotiate, so Seoul cuts more taxes and regulations that affect American car sales there. Last year, the Big Three exported just 7,000 vehicles to South Korea.

Huh: You can buy U.S. made vehicles, but not many are actually buying them.

Meanwhile, Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia export 100 times more cars to the U.S.

Could be unfair trade. Or just bad American products. Either way, expectations in Seoul are low for a breakthrough on the stalled trade deal.

I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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