Economy

Here’s Trump’s Missing Order to Withdraw From Trade With South Korea

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

In his book "Fear: Trump in the White House," Bob Woodward wrote that members of Trump's cabinet have snatched documents from Trump's desk to prevent him from seeing or signing them.

That's a fantastical claim, but is it true?

I believed it was true even before Woodward provided the receipts. Here's the order to withdraw from a trade agreement with South Korea that Trump never signed.


The order was real and this really happened. We have maintained a trade agreement with South Korea because Trump never saw this piece of paper and, to my own surprise, it appears as though Trump's unhinged trade representative Robert Lighthizer let him forget about it. That's his name at the bottom of the order.

In any case, what exactly is the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement? Trump's order says the agreement is "not in the overall best interests of the United States," but what does it do?

Among many other things, our trade agreement with South Korea increased American exports by nearly $10 billion and eliminated tariffs on $1 billion in American agriculture. It also opened up South Korea to American financial services companies and required both countries to adhere to their own labor and environmental regulations of which ours are actually weaker than South Korea's.

The agreement was first signed in 2007 under President George W. Bush but it was amended in 2010 under President Obama. The 2010 agreement opened up the South Korean market to more American-made automobiles.

It's not a perfect agreement, because no deal is perfect, but to say that we should dump the entire deal for no substantiated reason is obviously a wild stretch that could only come from Trump and his batshit advisers.

  • 1933john

    “Obama” is the operative word.

  • muselet

    I honestly get the feeling everything Donald Trump knows about negotiating comes from Superman: The Movie:

    “You will bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it! No matter that it takes an eternity! YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME! BOTH YOU, AND THEN ONE DAY, YOUR HEIRS!” –General Zod

    Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Kneel Before Zod doesn’t end well.

    –alopecia

  • Georgie
  • Username1016

    Lalala! I just ordered my copy of Fear, and of course I used the Amazon link above. You’re welcome 🙂