Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Korea says no to US trade talks

President Obama shakes hands with South Korea's Lee Myung-bak
The US is concerned about the impact of the trade treaty on the car industry.

South Korean officials have dampened speculation that the country is willing to re-negotiate a free trade agreement with the US.

The move comes a day after President Lee Myung-bak indicated he was willing to talk about US concerns at a press conference with President Barack Obama.

However, the Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said the Korean president's comments didn't mean "renegotiation".

The two countries have yet to ratify a treaty signed in June 2007.

US officials have expressed repeated concerns about the free trade agreement's (FTA) impact on the country's ailing car industry.

In 2008, South Korea shipped about 600,000 cars to the US compared to roughly 7,000 cars shipped by the US to South Korea.

South Korean officials counter that the FTA would negatively impact the country's agricultural sector.

In 2008, two-way trade between South Korea and the US amounted to $84.8bn (£50.8bn), making Washington South Korea's fourth largest trading partner behind China, the European Union and Japan.

The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy has previously said the FTA could boost South Korea's long-term growth by 6% and create about 340,000 jobs.

Likewise, in early November the US Chamber of Commerce said that failure to ratify the FTA was putting 350,000 American jobs and export sales at risk.



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