S.Korea calls for swift revision of Trump-era steel tariffs

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South Korea’s top trade official called on the US to swiftly begin talks to revise the Section 232 tariff rules on Seoul’s steel exports, the Trade Ministry in Seoul said on Friday.

In 2018, the US waived the tariffs on South Korean steel products, but it was in return for a yearly import quota of 2.63 million tonnes of steel, or 70 per cent of Seoul’s average steel products export volume over the past three years, reports Yonhap News agency.

South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo made the request to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai during in a bilateral meeting held in Washington on Thursday.

South Korean steelmakers had also met members of the US Congress, economic organizations and think tanks to appeal for the revision, “given the seriousness of the current situation”, it added.

The push came as Washington decided in October 2021 to lift import tariffs on European steel and aluminium imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018. The lifting took effect on January 1.

The deal is feared to have adverse impacts on South Korea’s exports of steel and aluminium products, as it is likely to boost the volume of the EU’s steel imports to the US.

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