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South Korea raises U.S. steel issue at WTO meeting

Staff Writer | March 21, 2018
South Korea urged members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to put concerted efforts toward dealing with rising trade protectionist practices, including tariffs on steel and aluminum imports planned by the United States, Seoul's trade ministry said.
steel issue
Trade war   Kim Chang-kyu attended the WTO meeting in New Delhi
Kim Chang-kyu, who leads Korea Trade Commission under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, attended the informal ministerial WTO meeting in New Delhi to discuss the latest trade issues with representatives from 50 nations.

The proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, signed by U.S. President Donald Trump, dominated the two-day meeting as the penalties are set to take effect on Friday.

Kim concurred with other member nations that the U.S. duties should be in line with WTO rules and suggested combining bilateral and multilateral negotiations to better counter the challenge, according to the ministry.

Trump used the authority under Section 232 of U.S. law, which empowers the president to issue tariffs based on national security concerns. Tariffs to be slapped on steel products have been put on hold as Washington is in talks with Canada and Mexico to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement.

South Korea has been lobbying Washington for an exemption from the high duties, while the European Union and China have threatened to slap tariffs on American imports.

Critics argue that evoking the seldom-used trade law to impose fresh import restrictions would worsen economic relations globally, and could lead to a major trade war.