U.S. and South Korean negotiators meeting to revive a stalled trade pact are down to one main sticking point, say people familiar with this week's negotiations—leaving the biggest U.S. free-trade deal in nearly two decades hinging on an economically negligible but politically potent issue.The article notes that normal currency fluctuations — like when something bad happens in China and then a day or so later when investors realize that South Korea is not in China — can themselves make such a small percentage irrelevant.
The deal now comes down to whether South Korea will agree to give the U.S. four or five years to phase out the 2.5% tariff it levies on Korean-built cars, these people say, rather than cutting the tariff immediately, as Seoul has sought.
And here's an enthusiastic hat tip to Ben Muse and his Korea-US FTA blog, which has been doing a fine job of keeping up with the latest news while I've been preoccupied with schoolwork and Yŏnpyŏng-dong. Always happy to support a fellow Freak Stater.
And the FTA renegotiations have succeeded!