In line with his "America First" mantra, Trump pulled Washington out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in late January, and vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. US exports to South Korea fell by $1.2 billion, while USA imports from South Korea grew by more than $13 billion.
An official at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who attended the AMCHAM meeting and listened directly to Pence's speech, said he considered Pence's remarks as just rhetoric. For all of 2016, the surplus was US$23 billion, it said. "And our businesses continue to face too many barriers to entry which tilts the playing field against the American workers and American growth".
Pence's two main goals are to spur increased US access to Japanese markets and strengthen Japanese foreign investment, they said.
Last month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative questioned the U.S. The US hasn't named any country a manipulator since 1994. Japan wants to avoid opening talks on a bilateral trade deal for fear of being pressured into opening up highly protected areas of its economy, such as agriculture.
A shopper walks by a Samsung Electronics store in Seoul, South Korea, April 7, 2017.
"That's the hard truth", the visiting vice president said during a speech at a gathering of USA business executives operating in Korea and Korean business executives investing in the USA at the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea in Seoul.
"To some extent, we want to do for the United States what we did for IN", the White House adviser said. In line with his campaign pledges, Trump signed an executive order formally withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal soon after he took office and is seeking renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. "Direct investments Korean companies have made in the United States since KORUS have exceeded trade deficits with Korea", said James Kim, chairman of both GM Korea and the American Chamber of Commerce Korea, in a recent Korea Times interview.
Former American Chamber of Commerce Korea Chairman Jeffery Jones also argues the KORUS FTA may have prevented an even bigger drop off of US imports into Korea.
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks at a news conference during the G20 finance ministers meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, March 17, 2017.
White House officials said the economic meetings in Tokyo, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other officials, are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the US withdrew from a Pacific Rim trade pact.
Trump had said in his presidential campaign that he would pursue an "America First" policy in trade and make adjustments to the terms of the free trade deal with South Korea, which he said was killing USA jobs.