Korea Steel Deal Means More US Steel Barriers Lie Ahead



Jeffrey J. Schott and Zhiyao (Lucy) Lu | Peterson Institute for International Economics

The Trump administration’s plan to curb steel imports reached another significant turning point in late March with South Korea’s reported agreement to reduce steel exports to the United States. In return, according to press reports, Korea gets a permanent exemption from the administration’s determination to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports.

In the coming weeks, expect more US steel tariffs and quotas. Why? The arbitrary US goal of reducing imports to help boost capacity utilization of the domestic steel industry to 80 percent, which the Trump administration argues is needed to safeguard national security, cannot be met without reductions by exempted countries. Quotas will be the preferred restriction because they both reduce direct steel shipments to the US market and deter transshipments from non-exempted countries seeking to evade the new US trade measures…

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