South Korea’s top trade official called on the US on Friday to launch negotiations swiftly to revise the tariff rules imposed by former President Donald Trump’s administration on Seoul’s steel exports.
South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo made the request to visiting US Trade Representative Katherine Tai during in a joint committee meeting of the bilateral free trade agreement, reports Yonhap News Agency.
It is the first time in 10 years that a US top trade official has visited South Korea.
“We once again delivered our stance and concerns regarding the Section 232 rules, and demanded that the two sides begin negotiations at an early date,” Seoul’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.
South Korea has been pushing for the revision of the Section 232 tariff rules.
The US decided in October to lift import tariffs of 25 per cent on European steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imposed by Trump in 2018. The lifting is set to take effect on January 1, 2022.
In 2018, the US waived the tariffs on South Korean 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.
During Friday’s meeting, Yeo and Tai agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership in various new fields such as supply chains and climate change.
They also discussed major issues of mutual concern, including digital markets, new technologies in agricultural sectors, a certificate of origin and visa.
Trade volume between the two nations grew around 26 per cent to $131.6 billion since March 2002 when the free trade deal took effect.