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South Korea expresses regrets over U.S. steel tariffs

Staff Writer |
South Korea's trade minister on Friday expressed regret over the decision by the United States to slap stiff tariffs on steel imports, saying the nation will consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) if it is not exempted.

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Paik Un-gyu, minister of trade, industry and energy, made the remark after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered new tariffs of 25 percent be slapped on all steel imports with the temporary exception of those coming from Canada and Mexico.

"We express regret over the U.S. government's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel even though the Korean government has pointed out the problems of this action through various channels," Paik said in a meeting with senior officials from Korean steelmakers. "If this action takes effect, it would inevitably deal a serious blow to South Korea's steel exports to the U.S."

South Korea shipped 3.6 million tons of steel products to the U.S. last year, making in the No. 3 steel exporter after Canada and Brazil, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Seoul has repeatedly asked the Trump administration to exempt it from the steep tariffs, citing close economic and security ties between the two nations. Kim Hyun-chong, the key man on trade policy, has been in Washington, D.C. for closed meetings with senior American officials and policymakers in the runup to the formal announcement.

Paik said the Korean government will continue to consult with the Trump administration to get an exemption or exclude some products from the high duties, while looking for ways to challenge the move at the WTO if its demands are not accepted.


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