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Former US House speaker defends trade deal with South Korea

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Washington: Former US House Speaker John Boehner has defended the free trade deal between the US and South Korea on Tuesday, rejecting President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw from the deal.

“Withdrawing from the South Korea-US Trade Agreement (KORUS) would undermine America’s strategic objectives in the Pacific region and undercut our own workers and employers, who continue to depend on the free flow of goods and services between the US and the Republic of Korea,” Xinhua news agency reported Boehner as saying.

US President Trump has long blamed the KORUS for US trade deficit with South Korea, a stance rejected by Seoul.

The two sides last month held the first special session of the Joint Committee under the KORUS FTA to discuss trade imbalance but failed to reach any agreement.

According to US media, the Trump administration was considering initiating the process of withdrawing from the trade deal last week.

The move was seen by some analysts as an endeavour of gaining bargaining leverage over South Korea in the renegotiation of the deal.

The US Chamber of Commerce and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders urged the Trump administration not to withdraw from the free trade deal in a joint statement last week.

IANS

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