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Mounting trade pressure in the U.S. auto market

Posted March. 16, 2001 13:58,   


Trade protection in overseas auto markets is growing. The administration of United States President George W. Bush is putting pressure on Korean car manufacturers and the European Union has reportedly included Korean cars in a list of targets for an antidumping ruling.

The U.S. automotive industry is pressing for the opening of the Korean market while restricting imports into the American market. Against this backdrop, Korean auto manufacturers are studying ways to cope with the situation.

Government sources said Thursday that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) issued a white paper listing Korean-made cars as a representative pending trade issue. USTR called for the wider opening of the Korean market and placed strict limits on exports of Korean-made cars into the U.S.

The Korea Automobile Association said that only European and Japanese carmakers currently benefit from the previous opening of the domestic auto market, noting that this is the reason the U.S. is stepping up pressure by linking the market-opening issue with that of Korean car imports. ``We expect the pressure from the U.S. to force the government to allow American cars or introduce the kind of measure it used in the mid-1990s, when the U.S. asked Japan to buy auto parts for a certain period of time,`` said an official of the association.

Meanwhile, the EU is said to be considering including Korean-made cars on a list of products subject to an anti-dumping ruling. The market share of Korean cars in the EU reportedly dropped owing to a regulation that authorities could investigate anti-dumping charges if any product`s market share soared suddenly to more than 3 percent.

Last year, the Korean automobile industry exported a total of 607,027 cars to the United States and 471,453 cars to the EU.

Ha Im-Sook artemes@donga.com