President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a signing ceremony for a new United States-Korea trade deal following a bilateral meeting at the United Nations Monday afternoon.
“It’s a very big deal,” Trump said of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, thanking Vice President Mike Pence, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow for their “tremendous work” throughout negotiations, which began in July 2017.
Trump expressed gratitude to Moon for his “dedicated efforts” to reach what he called “a historic milestone in trade.”
Trump said the deal was “fair and reciprocal,” and will both reduce the trade deficit and expand opportunities to export American products to South Korea, including automobiles, medicine and agricultural products.
“I think our farmers are going to be extremely happy, it was very limited as to what they could do and what they could send and now it’s a open market and they’re going to be sending a lot more farm products. Makes me feel very good, I love our farmers,” Trump said, adding that the deal would double the cars per manufacturer that can enter the South Korean market while meeting US safety standards.
The deal, Trump said, will “reduce bureaucracy and increase prosperity” for both countries and is one deal in addition to many that are currently “in the works.”
He touted his “great relationship” with Moon on both trade and in working with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, again saying the time and place for a second meeting would be announced “in the not too distant future.”
After brief remarks by Moon, the two leaders moved to a table to sign the trade agreement.
“I’ve never seen my name in Korean. It looks nice,” Trump said.
He presented his South Korean counterpart with the signing pen.
“Oh! Thank you,” Moon said, visibly surprised and delighted.
Trump will continue meetings with world leaders throughout the week.