South Korea: Seoul all out to counter US 25% tariff on steel imports

  • South Korea is making last-minute struggles this week to exempt itself from the US government’s impending steel tariff which would strike a heavy blow to steel producers here and the nation’s export-dependent economy.
  • Unlike other major steel exporting states such as China, Canada and the European Union, however, Seoul refrained from adopting reciprocal tariffication.
  • Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong on 6 Mar 18 left for Washington DC as part of his second outreach program to respond to the toughening trade regulations, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
  • His hurried move came as US President Donald Trump is set to impose a tariff of 25% on all steel imports later this week.
  • During the four-day visit, Seoul’s chief trade policymaker is slated to meet senior officials including US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
  • On a separate track, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Un-gyu also sent a public letter to US counterpart Ross on 5 Mar 18, requesting that South Korea be exempted from Section 232, ministry officials said.
  • “Theoretically speaking, it is possible (to impose a reciprocal tariff on US products), but for now, the best strategy is to exert our best (in communications),” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said on 6 Mar 18 in a radio interview with CBS.

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