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S. Korea is not the main target of U.S. auto tariff: minister

All Headlines 17:13 August 21, 2018

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is not the main target of the proposed U.S. tariffs on foreign vehicles as the country made concessions in the auto sector in the recently revised free trade agreement (FTA), Seoul's trade minister said Tuesday.

Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said the Seoul government has been making all-out efforts to get exemption from the 25 percent duties on foreign autos proposed by the Donald Trump administration on national security grounds.

"Rather than South Korea, I think (the U.S. auto tariffs) mainly target other auto manufacturing countries, such as Mexico, Canada, Japan and the European Union," Kim said in during a parliamentary committee meeting. "We are making our best efforts to get relief from the U.S. auto tariffs."

South Korean trade minister Kim Hyun-chong speaks in a meeting with trade experts in Seoul on July 16, 2018. (Yonhap)

As lawmakers pointed out that any tariffs under Section 232 could hamper the ratification process of the revised trade deal, Kim said Asia's fourth-largest economy will get exemptions as it has "already resolved auto issues in the KORUS FTA negotiations."

Kim said the two nations will formally sign the amended FTA in September as the U.S. government completed a 60-day consultation period with Congress on Aug. 13. In South Korea, a trade deal needs parliamentary approval for it to go into force.

Korean-made autos are currently exempt from U.S. duties under the bilateral trade pact implemented in 2012, and Seoul accepted Washington's demands in regard to auto market access in the recently revised open trade pact.


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