South Korea says it will hold talks with US President-elect Donald Trump over free trade agreement. AFP

SEOUL: South Korea’s trade minister said on Tuesday the existing free trade agreement with the United States has benefited both countries and Asia’s fourth-biggest economy is hopeful of making more strides under US President-elect Donald Trump.

“The FTA has been the framework of economic cooperation between the two countries and has contributed to the stable management of trade-related issues,” said Minister Joo Hyung-hwan in a speech at the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

“We plan to talk with US officials on issues including regulation cooperation while focusing on keeping the FTA implemented in full.”

Trump’s election upset on Nov. 8 has raised concerns about global trade as the New York billionaire ran a bruising campaign with threats to tear up international trade pacts and impose high import tariffs to protect and boost jobs at home.

South Korea is seen as vulnerable to any US protectionist measures as it exports heavily to the United States and maintains a big trade surplus.

Joo said Trump’s campaign pledges are expected to provide new opportunities for South Korean businesses, noting the incoming administration’s stated goals to boost investment in infrastructure and revamp manufacturing industries.

Trump’s administration’s energy policy direction is also expected to stabilise energy prices in South Korea, Joo said. --REUTERS

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