The Trade minister of South Korea called on the United States on Friday to begin talks to revise the Section 232 tariff rules on South Korea’s steel exports.
Several years ago, the U.S. removed tariffs on South Korean steel products, but it was in return for a yearly import quota of 2.63 million tons of steel. The country’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo made the request to U.S. Trade Representative on Thursday. Yeo Han-koo discusses tariffs with Katherine Tai during a bilateral meeting held in Washington.
Steelmakers from South Korea also met members of the U.S. Congress, economic organizations, and think tanks. They asked lawmakers and others to revise tariffs.
South Korea and Trump-era steel tariffs
Importantly, the push came as Washington decided in October to remove import tariffs on European steel and aluminum. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs in 2018.
Washington’s decision to lift import tariffs on European products is feared to have an adverse impact on South Korea. A decision to remove tariffs has the potential to boost the volume of the EU’s steel imports to the U.S.
Representatives of the two countries also discussed the envisioned Indo-Pacific economic framework (IPEF). President Joe Biden’s administration sought to launch a fresh economic framework in the region, rather than joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Currently, it consists of 11 members, including Australia and Japan, with China applying for the pact. When it comes to South Korea, the country is reviewing the option of joining it.
This week, during the meeting, Tai emphasized the importance of the new framework. She noted that it will help to strengthen the competitiveness of countries in the region and bring them new economic opportunities.