SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea is adopting a “wait and see” stance, government officials said on Friday, after U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters he would “renegotiate or terminate” a free trade pact between the two countries.
The won turned lower against the dollar soon after Trump’s comments, trading down 0.2 percent at 1,132.5 to the dollar. South Korea’s benchmark share index fell, wiping out earlier gains, to stand down 0.03 percent at 2,208.73 points by 0207 GMT.
“Talk and actual policy are different,” a high-ranking official at the finance ministry, who declined to be named, as he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters.
“They have not requested anything from us so we’ll have to wait and see.”
He reiterated comments by Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho the previous day that South Korea had not yet received any official requests on the renegotiation of the pact, which took effect in 2012.
The deal was great for South Korea, but “terrible” for the United States, Trump told Reuters in the interview.
A senior trade official also told Reuters the ministry would need to coordinate with Washington on the trade deal, but declined to elaborate further, as he needed time to look into the matter.
South Korea’s automobile industry body expressed concern over the possible revision of the trade deal. Shares of Hyundai Motor extended losses, and were down as much as 2.4 percent after Trump’s comments.
Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Dahee Kim, Cynthia Kim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez