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Seoul safeguards agriculture in a revised trade deal

Posted March. 26, 2018 07:56,   

Updated March. 26, 2018 07:56


In a revised trade agreement between South Korea and the United States, Seoul has decided not to further open up its agricultural and automobile parts markets to its trading partner, but the imports of U.S. cars are likely to increase with non-tariff barriers applied to American finished car imports reduced.

South Korean and the United States have reached an agreement on the bilateral trade deal and steel tariffs in respect to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act in principle, South Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong told reporters Sunday on arrival at Incheon International Airport. He said the results will be announced at a press conference after he reports to the Cabinet the results of the negotiation on Monday.

The trade minister said there were no concessions made regarding further opening of the agricultural market and the U.S. request for the mandatory use and origins of auto parts was not reflected, underscoring the country was able to defend its red line that protects its farm goods.

The two trading partners seem to reach a balance of interest – Washington in the trade talks and Seoul in tariff exemption issues. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Friday (local time) they are nearing a pretty comprehensive resolution that will encompass broader trade issues. The talks for revising the bilateral trade deal are likely to be officially announced after they are concluded as early as this month. “Although some technical issues remain to be settled at the working level, they will be concluded soon,” said a South Korean trade ministry official.

Gun-Huk Lee gun@donga.com