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Korea Evades Steel Tariffs, Wins Quota From U.S. in Quick FTA Tweak

Posted March 26, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Andrew Salmon – Asia Times)

The United States and South Korea have agreed to revisions of the Korea US Free Trade Agreement, or KORUS FTA, while also removing Seoul from Washington’s gunsights in regard to steel imports.

At a time when the two allies are playing a high-stakes game on the flashpoint peninsula, the move should calm Korean markets, but other issues – including ongoing cost-sharing negotiations for US troops in the country, and uncertainties hanging over upcoming summits with North Korea and a pending US trade war with China – continue to cast long shadows.

KORUS has a troubled history. It was signed in 2007, and a revised version was agreed on in 2010. The latter only went into effect after both countries’ ratified the deal in 2012. The pact has come under attack from US Democrats and was characterized by US President Donald Trump, who assumed power partly on a platform of better trade deals for US businesses, as “horrible.”

Washington demanded to re-negotiate the deal last April and Seoul reluctantly acquiesced in September. The outcome has proved less painful than many in Seoul anticipated. Click here to read more.