However, if a breakthrough is imminent,
Earlier in the week, U.S. Assistant Trade Representative Wendy Cutler said she did not expect a breakthrough in this week's talks. That could have to do with trouble stemming from South Korea's rejection of U.S. beef shipments, an issue that is not technically connected to the current bilateral trade talks but one that nevertheless may be critical to the U.S. agreeing to a deal.
"I don't think everything hangs on beef, because there are about 17 negotiation groups meeting, and there are lots of issues and lots of complexities," Norton says. "I'd say beef is one of the issues on the minds of negotiators as they try to work through this. They know that beef also has to be addressed at some point separately."
According to Korean media Tuesday, the two countries reached a formal agreement not to impose tariffs on digital songs and movies, but the U.S. Trade Representative's office has not confirmed this.