South Korea, US reach an understanding to revise steel tariffs agreement

Mar 28, 2018, 01:07
South Korea, US reach an understanding to revise steel tariffs agreement

Previously lifted tariffs on South Korean vehicle exports won't be reimposed, Kim said, and the nation planned to ease some of the safety and environmental regulations on imported United States cars.

The Trump administration instigated talks in July to renegotiate the free trade treaty, known as KORUS, and the U.S. last week imposed duties on steel imports from multiple countries including China, raising fears of a trade war.

The two countries reached agreement "in principle" on the trade deal known as Korus, South Korea's Trade Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Kim Hyun-chong, South Korea's trade minister, told journalists Monday, however, that there would be no further opening of his country's agricultural markets and no changes to tariffs that had already been lifted.

South Korean automakers should make investments and hire new workers in the United States to build pick-up trucks to avoid the 25 per cent tariff, he added.

While the country won a steel tariff exemption, it is still subject to a quota of about 2.7 million tons of steel products a year, about 74 percent of its exports in 2017.

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The agreement between the two countries has helped eliminated uncertainties related to steel and it should allow South Korean products to be shipped to the United States.

Trump insisted there would be a fair process of negotiation, including talks of exemptions.

Trump pulled out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact previous year and said that he would focus on negotiating new bilateral deals with countries around the world.

Under KORUS revisions, USA automakers will be able to bring into South Korea 50 000 vehicles per automaker per year that meet United States safety standards, not necessarily Korean standards, up from 25 000 vehicles previously.

South Korea was the third-biggest exporter of steel to the United States in 2016, after Canada and the European Union. In return, the ministry said, it would be exempt from the tariffs.

But he expected more turbulence in the relationship under the current United States president. "I think South Korea fared well despite the U.S. offensive".

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The two sides will meet in the coming days to finalise the updated pact, Kim said.

Gibbs noted that South Korea purchases about 10% of USA ferrous scrap exports.

"I think the strategy has worked, quite frankly", Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told Fox News in an interview Sunday.

South Korean steel companies said had wanted a larger quota of tariff-free exports to the United States.

South Korea raised worries over U.S.'s tough trade stance on the country, saying it would hurt their partnerships ahead of crucial security talks on the peninsula.

The Trump administration instigated talks in July to renegotiate the free-trade treaty, known as KORUS, and the USA last week imposed duties on steel imports from multiple countries including China, raising fears of a trade war.

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