Korea should change its export strategy to expand its foothold in emerging markets and develop new growth drivers against a series of import restrictions by the United States, the government said on Feb. 20.
Paik Un-gyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, said Korea should be strategic and nimble to manage potential risks from the rising protectionist trade policies under US President Donald Trump, including safeguard measures on washers and solar panels and proposed tariffs on steel imports.
“I personally think this may not be the end, with more to come. We have to change our export strategy to counter rising U.S. trade protectionism,” Paik said in a meeting with reporters. “To better manage risks down the road, we have to explore new markets and develop value-added products and innovative materials.”
The US Department of Commerce has recommended that Trump levy a tariff of 24 percent on all steel imports or a quota for steel imports of 63 percent of last year’s level based on national security grounds, using the seldom-used Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act.
Another option is levying a 53 percent tariff on steel imports from 12 countries including Korea, Brazil and China.
“(Tariffs on steel) are part of Trump’s policy aimed at his political supporters ahead of the November mid-term elections and for his second term for president,” Paik said. “We’ll have to overhaul our export strategy against protectionism.”
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (email@example.com