The trade surplus with the United States enjoyed by the Republic of Korea last year appears to be in the process of being reversed, a high Korean official told Commerce Secretary Juanita Kreps yesterday.

After a two-day meeting here with Commerce officials, Korean Minister of Commerce and Industry Gak Kyu Choi said that a Korean import liberalization program would help U.S. sales in the years ago.

Choi has been serving as head of a government-business buying mission in this country, which plans to announce about $2 billion in purchase orders, including the major commitment for Boeing 747 jumbo jets annunced earlier this week.

Kreps and Choi said that out of a $7 billion two-way trade with the U.S. last year, Korea had run a surplus of $587 million. But Choi cited Korean statistics showing that in the first two months of 1979, Korea had a trade deficit of $32 million with the United States.

In a speech in New York earlier this week, Choi said that the imports from the U.S. that would be helped most by liberalization of Korean import regulations are food processing equipment, lifting and loading machinery, hand tools, musical instruments, oil burners, and confectionary products.