A senior U.S. trade envoy says worries in the United States over South Korean trade barriers to U.S. autos continue to block approval of a U.S.-South Korean free trade agreement.
The comments Thursday by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis temper President Barack Obama's vow to strengthen trade ties with South Korea in his State of the Union address the night before.
Marantis says he feels confident that U.S. negotiators can come up with a solution to address worries in the U.S. Congress over autos. But he says it will be very difficult to overcome South Korea's "bad history" of excluding foreign autos. He offered no hint on whether the deal could face a vote in Congress this year.