The United States formally notified South Korea of a timetable to launch the process of revisiting the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries that went into force in 2012.
The move reflects US President Donald Trump's protectionist criticism of past trade deals and his vow to put "America First".
"Since Korus went into effect, our trade deficit in goods with Korea has doubled from $13.2 billion to $27.6 billion, while USA goods exports have actually gone down", Lighthizer said in a statement.
The negotiations are due to be held in Washington next month, according to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
The spokesman predicted the USA will make specific demands during the special Joint Committee meeting, including a revision of the FTA.
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Obama had predicted that the pact would increase US exports to South Korea, the world's 11th-biggest economy.
He said South Korea will discuss ways to reduce the US trade deficit and improve fairness of the KORUS FTA.
"We will meet and discuss mutual interests and concerns".
Under the government restructuring plan outlined by the new Moon Jae-in government, a semi-independent trade bureau will be set up, with the trade chief to be called a minister. "We can and must do better". "The renegotiation table opens when the two countries agree to do so".
"This is quite different from what the previous administration sold to the American people when it urged approval of this agreement".
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During the June 30 summit with Moon, Trump even said that the two countries "are renegotiating" the pact, saying the agreement has been "rough" for the USA and calling it "not exactly a great deal".
He has lashed out at countries that have large trade surpluses with the USA and opposed multilateral agreements.
With the South Korea deal in particular, the administration likely aims to win economic benefits that would go over well with Trump's base while discouraging Moon from taking too conciliatory an approach with North Korea, the other issue topping the agenda at the summit.
The data also showed that exports of American vehicles to Korea increased 20 times faster than USA automobile exports to the world over the same period, meaning Korea now stands as the United States' eighth-largest export market by value, up from the 17th-largest market in 2011. Experts also say that even though the USA has a deficit in goods trade, the country has enjoyed surpluses in services trade under the deal, and United States deficits in goods trade would have been larger had it not been for the pact. "Although Korea and the U.S. are important allies and trading partners, free, fair and balanced trade relations are needed for more advanced bilateral relations".
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