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(LEAD) S. Korea to be exempted from U.S. auto tariffs: report

All Headlines 08:33 May 16, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES, EDITS with separate report on South Korea's exemption in paras 1-5; CHANGES headline)

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will be exempted from potential U.S. tariffs on imported cars because the two sides have renegotiated their bilateral free trade agreement, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order later this week that gives the European Union and Japan 180 days to agree to limiting auto exports to the United States in exchange for delaying tariffs, Bloomberg said, citing a draft version it obtained.

The order also exempts South Korea from any future tariffs, it said.

Trump was expected to decide by Saturday whether to impose up to 25 percent tariffs on imported cars and parts on national security grounds.

Reuters earlier cited three administration officials as saying that the decision will be delayed by up to six months and that a formal announcement is expected by Saturday.

It added that automakers expected a delay amid ongoing talks between the U.S. and the European Union and Japan.

South Korea has been pushing to gain an exemption from the potential tariffs on the grounds that it made concessions on autos in the revised bilateral free trade agreement with the U.S., which took effect in January.

Industry officials say that Korean car companies, which make mostly small and medium-sized cars, are not in direct competition with the big three American automakers that focus more on SUVs, pickup trucks and large sedans.

In April, Moody's Investors Service said the potential tariffs would drag down South Korea's economic growth this year by 0.3 percentage point.

(LEAD) S. Korea to be exempted from U.S. auto tariffs: report - 1

hague@yna.co.kr
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