One day after calling it a “great deal for American and Korean workers,” President Donald Trump threatened to hold up a renegotiated trade deal between Washington and Seoul.
Trump told an audience Thursday in Ohio that he may postpone implementing the agreement until after a denuclearization deal is made with North Korea.
He called the updated trade pact with the South “a very strong card and I want to make sure everyone is treated fairly.”
Trump gave no details on his strategy of holding up the trade deal or what kind of leverage he is expecting from Seoul as he gets ready for an expected summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sometime before May.
“We're moving along very nicely with North Korea. We’ll see what happens. Certainly, the rhetoric has calmed down just a little bit,” Trump said Thursday.
Trump had threatened to pull out of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, calling it “horrible” for U.S. workers and manufacturers.
But U.S. and Korean negotiators announced this week a revised deal. It exempts South Korea from the new stiff tariffs on steel exports to the United States, while limiting Korean steel shipments.
The revised agreement also will give U.S. carmakers more access to Korean markets.
The North and South Korean leaders plan to hold their own summit in April.