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April 22, 2019

Seoul requests exemption from US auto duties

PUBLISHED : April 14, 2019 - 13:47

UPDATED : April 14, 2019 - 14:01

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South Korea’s top fiscal minister has called on the United States to exempt it from new duties on imported vehicles at meetings of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors held in Washington last week, the Finance Ministry said on April 14.

Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki made the request to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines of the annual international conferences on the global economy and other issues.


Mnuchin said he fully understands what the Korean minister requested from the US in terms of auto import tariffs and expressed hope that the issue will be resolved without difficulty, though no decision on the issue has yet been made, the ministry said. 

The US Commerce Department submitted a report on the impact on the car imports to President Donald Trump in February. The report was on whether or not to impose new duties on imported vehicles under a national security rationale. 

Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose tariffs on imported vehicles and has 90 days to review the Commerce Department report. 

Separately, Hong called on three major credit ratings agencies -- Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings -- to reflect eased geopolitical tension on the Korean Peninsula when they adjust Korea’s sovereign rating.

He briefed them on the Korean government’s economic policies on achieving growth of 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent this year amid external uncertainties and slowing demand for semiconductors.

But the minister said he expected Korean exports will gradually improve on recovering demand for semiconductors in the second half.

“The Seoul government is expanding fiscal investment to stimulate the economy and is easing regulations to encourage companies to make investments. It hopes to see a trade deal between the US.and China as it could have direct and indirect impacts on Korean exports,” Hong was quoted as saying by the ministry.

Asked about the inter-Korean economic cooperation and minimum wages, Hong said the government is making preparations in an orderly and calm manner and a revision bill on the minimum wage is under deliberation at the National Assembly that will slow down the pace of minimum wage hikes.

By Ram Garikipati and newswires (ram@heraldcorp.com)

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