Former FTA negotiator named as trade minister

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Former FTA negotiator named as trade minister

Kim Hyun-chong, who led the Korea-U.S. Free Trade agreement (FTA) under the former Roh Moo-hyun government, was appointed as trade minister, the presidential office said Sunday.

President Moon Jae-in also appointed Kim Yung-moon, a prosecutor-turned-laywer, as the new commissioner of the Korea Customs Service.

Kim Hyun-chong will lead the new trade negotiations bureau under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, which has been revived as part of a government reorganization passed recently by the national assembly.

The trade expert is expected to play a key role in negotiations to amend the Korea-U.S. FTA proposed by the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced the pact, which went into effect in 2012.

Earlier this month, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requested that its South Korean counterpart hold a special joint committee to discuss the amendment and modification of the deal.

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