Trump’s tariffs could be aimed at boosting auto exports, South Korea deal suggests

Trump’s tariffs could be aimed at boosting auto exports, South Korea deal suggests

26/03/18

South Korea has agreed to limit its steel exports and relax its position on US auto imports, in what represents a major success for President Trump.

An official statement from the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy – released today – confirmed that South Korea would be exempt from new US steel tariffs, ‘in return for Korea receiving a quota of 2.68 million tons of steel exports annually.’

This is equivalent to about 70 per cent of the annual Korean steel exports to the US between 2015 and 2017, the statement adds.

According to The New York Times, South Korea ‘also agreed to lower trade barriers to autos imported from the US,’ in what appears to be ‘an early vindication of the White House’s efforts to use the penalties (tariffs) as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations.’

The agreement means South Korea ‘is the first US ally to receive an indefinite exemption, albeit with a quota, on steel tariffs imposed by Trump,’ according to Japan Times.

Interestingly, the statement came as Bloomberg, quoting an anonymous source ‘familiar with the matter,’ reported that the Trump administration is ‘urging China to lower tariffs on cars and open its market to US financial services as part of talks to resolve a rise in trade tensions.’

Meanwhile, global markets picked up on Monday as fears of a trade war were tempered following positive comments from US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over the weekend, The Guardian reports.

 

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