South Korea slams new US tariffs, mulls protest at WTO

Seoul: The South Korean government on Friday slammed the US government’s decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and said that it was considering protesting against the measure at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“We express regret over the US 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,” said South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Paik Un-gyu during a meeting with representatives of local steel companies.

“If this action takes effect, it would inevitably deal a serious blow to South Korea’s steel exports to the US.” The minister said that Seoul will continue to have dialogue with us President Donald Trump’s administration for the exemption or exclusion of certain products, and at the same time explore ways to protest the decision to the WTO if Washington does not accept its demands, reports Efe news.

The new US tariffs, which have been added to previous ones on specific products, will be 25 per cent for steel imports and 10 per cent for aluminium and affect all countries that sell them to the US with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico. South Korea sent 3.6 million tonnes of steel to the US in 2017, making it the third largest exporter to the country after Canada and Brazil.

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