Korea To Be First Country With Steel Quota Agreement

(Excerpts from World Trade Online, Jenny Leonard and USTR Fact Sheet)

After seven months of amendment talks, the United States and South Korea last Friday (March 23) reached an agreement in principle that includes … a product-specific quota to limit Korean exports of steel to the US, as well as a deal on currency, sources said.

The Office of the US Trade Representative negotiated an alternative solution to global steel and aluminum tariffs as part of its KORUS Agreement amendment talks. The two sides reached an agreement on steel, but sources said Korea decided to accept the 10 percent tariff on aluminum exports.

Korean imports of steel products into the United States will be subject to a product specific quota equivalent to 70% of the average annual import volume of such products during the period of 2015-17. This will result in a significant reduction in Korean steel shipments to the United States.

US and Korean negotiators agreed on the changes shortly after President Trump announced earlier … that they were close to wrapping up the talks and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he hoped the administration “by sometime next week to be able to have a real announcement.”

Once completed, the amendments and modifications to KORUS will undergo the United States’ and Korea’s respective domestic review procedures. For the United States, modifications to the US tariff schedule will undergo consultation and layover procedures provided under the implementing act for the KORUS Agreement, which include a 60-day consultation period with Congress.