South Korea agrees to limit US steel exports to win tariff exemption

South Korea agrees to limit US steel exports to win tariff exemption
© Getty Images

Seoul agreed on Monday to limit its steel exports to the U.S. in exchange for an exemption from President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE's broad-based tariffs, according to the South Korean trade ministry.

Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said the U.S. agreed to exempt South Korea indefinitely in return for Seoul adhering to a new quota of 2.68 million tons of steel a year, an average of 30 percent less than in recent years. South Korea is the third-largest steel exporter to the United States.

The agreement was meant to codify the change in the six-year-old Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

ADVERTISEMENT
There was no agreement on further opening agricultural markets or changes to previously lifted tariffs in the agreement, Kim said.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative did not issue a statement or respond to requests for comment.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, however, told CNBC that, “it looks like we’re going to have a very, very good result.”

Bloomberg reported that South Korea also agreed to double the import quota on American cars that don't meet local safety standards to 50,000. But the news service noted that U.S. auto sales there are well below that figure anyway.

The deal would also allow the U.S. to extend existing tariffs on Korean pickup trucks, which were set to expire in 2021, by an additional 20 years, according to Reuters.

Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports earlier this month, but carved out a temporary exemption for a slew of major U.S. allies, including South Korea.