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Americans Seek Greater Access to Market : U.S., South Korea to Discuss Trade Gap

December 07, 1987|Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean and U.S. officials will meet in Washington this month to discuss the growing trade imbalance between the two nations, according to a Korean report.

Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, said the talks will consider U.S. demands for greater access to domestic markets.

The report, which cited unidentified government sources, said the talks would be held around Dec. 20. South Korea's Trade and Industry Ministry declined to comment on the report.

South Korea had a $7.3-billion trade surplus with the United States last year.

Officials said the South Korean delegation would outline moves to open its markets to imports, including a proposed cut in tariffs to about 8% from 20%, the news agency reported. The South Koreans also want to adjust the value of the won to reflect the decline of the dollar, the report said.

U.S. representatives are expected to seek a lowering of the tariff rate to 5% and readjustment of the dollar against the won by 15% to 20% annually, the report said.

The Americans are expected to seek wider access to South Korean for some 300 products, including cigarettes, beef, wine, chocolate, chemicals, lumber, auto parts, machine tools, computers and cosmetics.

The U.S. delegation is also expected to press for the opening of Korean service markets to foreign companies, including the insurance and banking firms, Yonhap said.

Separately, the Trade and Industry Ministry reported that South Korea's exports passed the $40-billion mark for the first time.

The ministry said exports for the year reached $40.11 billion on Nov. 21, up 14.6% from the figure for all of 1986.

Imports also increased 1.4% over the same period, reaching $35.38 billion by Nov. 21, the ministry said.

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