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U.S. to strike another blow to S. Korean steel imports

Posted February. 19, 2018 07:53,   

Updated February. 19, 2018 07:53


Following its decision to impose tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels including those from South Korea, the United States has proposed another protectionist measure which, if adopted, can slap a tariff of over 50 percent on steel imports from South Korea. The Donald Trump administration’s continuous pressure since his inauguration last January to address what it sees as an imbalanced trade with South Korea seems to be leading to a “crack in the economic alliance.” Some suggest that Washington may have been pushing for tougher measures especially on Seoul because of the two allies’ discord in coordinating policies towards North Korea.

The U.S. Department of Commerce submitted an investigation report to President Trump on Friday (local time) reviewing Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which includes recommendations to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports including those from South Korea, in just three days since Trump said that South Korea is not an “ally on trade.”

Upon request of Washington, Seoul started renegotiation of the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) last month, and was dealt a blow by Washington’s adoption of safeguard measures on washing machines and solar panels in February. If confirmed in April, the latest remedy undertaken by the U.S. administration will strike a third consecutive blow to South Korea, while other U.S. allies and major steel exporters to the country, such as Canada and Japan, have not been included in the proposal.

Jae-Myung Park jmpark@donga.com · Yong Park parky@donga.com