Seoul and Washington agree ‘in principle’ on FTA amendment
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Seoul and Washington agree ‘in principle’ on FTA amendment

South Korea’s trade minister says Seoul has
reached an agreement with Washington ‘in principle’ on how the two sides will amend their free
trade agreement. Korea has also secured a permanent exemption
from America’s new tariffs on steel. Kim Hyesung reports. Right after he reported to the Cabinet, South
Korea’s Trade Minister, Kim Hyun-jong, held a press conference Monday to explain the results
of the negotiations on the Korea-US. Free Trade Agreement. “Uncertainty has been growing in the global
market following the U.S. plan to impose sanctions on China, and the latest agreement has removed
two of those uncertainties. One, South Korea is exempt from the steel
tariff. Second is the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. ” Kim, Seoul’s pointman on trade talks, said
South Korea is the first country to receive an indefinite exemption from Washington’s
25-percent steel tariff measures. Currently, five countries, including Canada
and Mexico, plus the EU, received a temporary exemption from the U.S. import duties on steel
and aluminum that went into effect last week. In exchange, the U.S. will introduce a steel
import ceiling. South Korea’s quota will be set at 2-point-6-8
million tons of steel exports a year, or 70% of its average annual shipments to the U.S.
between 2015 to 2017. Seoul has also agreed to lift some of the
regulations the local auto sector, enabling U.S. automakers to ship Korea up to 50-thousand
vehicles each, up from 25-thousand previously. Tariffs imposed on Korean pickup trucks exported
to the U.S will be extended by 20 years to 2041. South Korea on the other hand, secured revisions
to the investor-state dispute settlement clause and other areas it has demanded since start
of the trade talks. We defended the red line. There is no further opening of agricultural
markets or mandatory use of U.S. auto parts. In addition, the two sides agreed to improve
the transparency of the trade dispute settlement process, which covers issue like anti-dumping
duties. The tentative agreement comes less than three
months since the first round of trade talks began. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also
described the agreement as an absolute win-win in an interview with Fox News Sunday, local
time. South Korea’s trade ministry said working-level
officials are ironing out the details so that Seoul and Washington can finalize their amendments
to the six-year-old trade deal soon. Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.

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