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S. Korea, U.S. hold 1st forum on pending economic issues

All News 14:00 June 15, 2017

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean and U.S. business groups on Thursday held a forum to discuss pending economic issues and cooperative measures amid concerns Washington may become more protectionist going forward, organizers said.

At the gathering arranged by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM), experts and business leaders from the two countries analyzed the Korea-U.S. free-trade agreement as a "reciprocal and win-win" deal.

The bilateral free trade pact took into effect on March 15, 2012, is helping both economies grow and consumers have benefited from a decline in prices of goods and services, the FKI said in a statement.

Helped by the deal, Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to grow by an additional 0.19 percent and the U.S.' GDP gained an extra 0.03 percent during the 2012-2016 period compared to the four-year period from 2007-2011, an FKI spokesman said.

During the same period, Korean consumers spent US$428 million less on products imported from the U.S., while their American counterparts spent $511 million less on Korean products, the statement said.

The FKI and AMCHAM, the business lobbies which represent Korea's big companies and U.S. firms operating in South Korea, respectively, will regularly hold the biannual forum in Seoul to share views on economic issues involving the two countries, the spokesman said.

The topic at the first forum will be about the free-trade agreement between Seoul and Washington as the Trump government threatened to terminate the five-year-old accord in April, citing it "a horrible deal" that has left America "destroyed."

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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