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S. Korea's trade agency hires U.S. lobbying firm for Trump gov't

All News 15:47 February 01, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's state-funded trade agency has signed a contract with a U.S. lobbying company to deal with the Donald Trump era, officials said Wednesday.

Ever since Trump has stated his protectionist policies, a sense of alarm has grown here over trade pressure from the new U.S. administration.

"(We) recently inked a contract with the U.S. lobbying firm K&L Gates," an official at the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said. "It's a three-month contract and whether to extend it will be considered, given future conditions."

It's rare for KITA to hire a U.S. lobbying firm. It did so in 2011 to better handle hot trade issues involving the bilateral free trade agreement.

K&L Gates has more than 2,000 lawyers, and it opened a Seoul office in 2012.

Under the contract, it will be tasked with gathering information on the Trump government's trade and tax policies, as well as congressional moves.

KITA, meanwhile, sent letters in September to around 1,000 American opinion leaders on the trade ties between the two nations.

The agency also appointed former Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon as an adviser.

KITA held a seminar in Seoul on the Trump administration's trade policy, inviting researchers at the Heritage Foundation.

It also plans to hold a forum next month to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. FTA taking effect.

Kim In-ho, chairman and CEO of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), in a photo provided by KITA (Yonhap)


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