US Vehicle Exports to South Korea to Double Under New Trade Deal - Reports
29 March, 2018, 02:12
The auto sector is among the most contentious issues in South Korea's trade dealings with the U.S. The Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association praised the government's efforts to protect South Korean automakers and avoid major changes on sensitive issues such as adjusting tariffs.
Trump had called the original South Korea pact a job killer.
President Donald Trump has his first trade deal.
The United States and South Korea have reached an agreement to overhaul the six-year-old U.S. -Korea Free Trade Agreement, senior administration officials said, confirming an announcement earlier Monday in Seoul.
The officials said the agreement was an example of Trump delivering on his promise to voters to negotiate better trade deals for the United States.
One official declared that "the President was correct to undertake this renegotiation".
The US officials made their case for why the revised deal is an improvement on the one that's now in effect, which Trump has slammed as "horrible" and a "job killer". It's created to eliminate the problem of "transshipment": South Korean companies buying steel from elsewhere, especially China, and sending it to the US.
Experts point out that the negotiations lasted only a few months, far shorter than trade talks typically take.
"That is why, in September, I began advocating to stay in the KORUS FTA and visited with both US administration officials and South Korea officials to stress the importance of the trade relationship between our two countries".
They also up the number of USA cars allowed in without meeting South Korea's different safety standards from 25,000 to 50,000.
The steel quota will result in a significant 30 percent reduction in South Korean steel shipments to the United States, the official added.
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But analysts say the increased quota is unlikely to make much difference anytime soon.
South Korea will consider USA vehicle emission standards in formulating its emissions standards for 2021-2025.
South Korea now figures on a US Treasury Department list of countries whose currency practices are closely scrutinised, but Washington has not designated any country a currency manipulator.
South Korea will no longer require additional testing for USA vehicles certified to meet US standards.
Extension of the phase-out period for US pickup truck tariffs to 2041 would ensure that USA pickup truck production would not migrate to South Korea as some production moved to Mexico after the North American Free Trade Agreement eliminated the tariff, the officials said. It will now end in 2041 rather than 2021. These premium payments have previously only been available to the South Korean companies. As a result, the US agricultural trade balance with Korea has declined 8.1 percent, or $554 million, since the FTA's implementation.
It made a decision to exempt South Korea from steel import restrictions, opting instead to lower the import quota to 70% of the annual average amount exported to the USA during the period 2015-2017.
South Korea will not be subject to the broad 25% tariff that Trump has imposed on most other countries. But it has been suspending the duties on allies like the European Union, Canada and Mexico.
The Asian country is still subject to the 10-percent tariff on its aluminum exports to the United States, said the officials.
South Korea has been kept on a Treasury currency "monitoring list" due to its large global current account surplus and USA trade surplus. But the measure lacks teeth.
The agreement also address Korean steel sold in the USA and other hot-button trade issues.
But the devil is in the detail. The details of that agreement are not yet public, but it will not include an external arbitration mechanism, officials said. Including it in the text of the deal would have required a lengthy legislative approval process, a path that administration officials indicated they did not want to go down.
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