Stainless steel factoryThe Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it had reached an agreement with South Korea to provide the country with a long term exemption from the 25 percent tariff on steel products imposed by the President under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1862). Instead, U.S. imports of steel from South Korea will be subject to a product-specific quota equivalent to 70 percent of the average annual import volume of such products during the period 2015-17. Further details on the quota have not been released and the President has raised doubts about whether or when it will go into effect by stating in a speech that he might hold up the deal until after a deal is made with North Korea on denuclearization.

The apparent agreement on steel was part of a larger agreement to amend and modify the Korean-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).  A USTR Fact Sheet on the agreement can be found here.

For further information, please contact Nithya Nagarajan, Stephen Brophy, or Jeffrey Neeley.