U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump strongly criticized the free trade agreement with South Korea on Tuesday, accusing it of enlarging U.S. trade deficits and costing a number of American jobs.
Trump made the argument in an economic policy speech in Pennsylvania, expressing deeply negative views of free trade and accusing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of supporting what he called "one terrible trade deal after another."
"It was also Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, who shoved us into a job-killing deal with South Korea in 2012," Trump said. "As reported by the Economic Policy Institute in May, this deal doubled our trade deficit with South Korea and destroyed nearly 100,000 American jobs."
Trump also said that Clinton "unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible trade deal after another -- from NAFTA to China to South Korea."
Trump vowed to pull out of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) if elected president. He also said he would immediately renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to get a better deal, and withdraw from the deal unless NAFTA partners agree to a renegotiation.
Trump made no direct mention of renegotiation with the deal with Korea in Tuesday's speech.
But Walid Phares, a top foreign policy adviser for Trump, said in an interview with Yonhap New Agency last month that Trump wants to go back to "ground zero" with regard to the trade deal.
In addition, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who oversees Trump's foreign policy, has also been strongly critical of the trade deal, claiming that it ended up increasing U.S. trade deficits while bringing little benefits.
South Korean officials say that even though the U.S. has a deficit in goods trade, the country has about $10 billion worth of surplus in services trade, and South Korea has made more investments in the U.S. than the U.S. did in South Korea.
The pact, which went into effect in 2012, has been viewed as an economic alliance between the two countries. (Yonhap)