Officials in South Korea said on Monday that they will push for quick consultations with the US on steel tariffs, citing concerns about the negative effects of a recent transatlantic trade agreement on the country's steel exports.
According to reports, Washington announced last week that it would repeal a 25% tariff on steel imports from the European Union (EU) and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018 under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act.
Instead, the agreement calls for the implementation of a tariff-rate quota system that allows the EU to export metal products to the US market without paying import taxes up to a certain volume without paying import taxes. "A potential increase in EU steel imports would inevitably have negative consequences for our exports," said Joo Young-joon, director-general for industry policy at Seoul's Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.
According to a 2018 agreement between Seoul and Washington, the US will waive a 25 percent tariff on South Korean steel imports in exchange for a yearly import quota of 2.63 million tonnes, or 70% of Seoul's average export volume over the previous three years. "We will push for discussions with the US to review and revise Section 232 rules on our steel and aluminium products as soon as possible," the official said.