South Korea likely to be exempt from U.S. steel tariffs

South Korea likely to be exempt from U.S. steel tariffs

The Trump administration detailed a trade deal that it reached with South Korea on Monday, which permanently exempts the USA ally from newly implemented steel tariffs, but maintains a quota on imports from the country.

Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports earlier this month, but carved out a temporary exemption for a slew of major US allies, including South Korea. NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada are exempt, while members of the European Union, along with countries like Brazil, are also expected to be immune.

South Korea is not allowed to export steel products exceeding that quota to the United States, a ministry official told the news agency. The United States has prioritized reducing its trade deficits with other countries; in 2016, it had a $17 billion deficit with South Korea.

Mr Moon plans to hold a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un by the end of April.

He described the negotiations as "fierce" but insisted, "As a negotiator, I can say it was a negotiating table where I had nothing to feel inferior about".

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South Korea was among several US allies initially excluded from the tariffs when they took effect Friday.

The announcement was made by Kim Hyun-chong, Seoul's Trade minister, on his arrival at the Incheon International Airport after talks in Washington.

The two countries also discussed changing the wording of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement and trade remedies, and Korea said it will review a request from the U.S. for Seoul to offer equal incentives to global pharmaceutical companies in developing new medicines. "South Korea will reduce the amount of steel that they send into the United States as a part of this".

Bloomberg reported that South Korea also agreed to double the import quota on American cars that don't meet local safety standards to 50,000.

"South Korea gave concessions in autos in return for steel tariff exemptions", he told Reuters.

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The US president, on Friday, had said the two sides were "very close" to finalising the updated pact, "and we're going to have a wonderful deal with a wonderful ally".

United States officials had said Friday an agreement could be announced in the coming week.

Currently, no auto company exports these vehicles from South Korea to the U.S., which factored into the talks, Kim said. USA tariffs on South Korean pickup trucks have also been extended by 20 years until 2041, while USA carmakers have had their export quotas relaxed.

She said: "Recently we have seen how [trade] is used as a weapon to threaten and intimidate us".

"Where we've put a pause on tariffs, we're negotiating", he said.

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