Korea's trade ministry held an emergency meeting Friday morning to discuss countermeasures to the Trump Administration's new tariffs.
Trump imposed steep tariffs of 25% on foreign steel and 10% on aluminium yesterday, drawing sharp protests from allies at home and overseas amid fears of a global trade war.
Paik Un-gyu, minister of trade, industry and energy, made the remark after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered new tariffs of 25 percent be slapped on all steel imports with the exception of those coming from Canada and Mexico.
The South is a treaty ally of the U.S., which has 28,500 troops stationed in the country to protect it from the nuclear-armed North, but has found itself on the receiving end of Trump's "America First" economic agenda.
"Bilateral consultation is key at this point, to appeal to Washington that Seoul, its key ally's steel exports do not pose a security threat to the US, and to seek exemption within the next 15 days. Free Trade Agreement renegotiations and possible future economic partnership, like on shale gas projects, as leverage in negotiations".
It is important to make a distinction between a "steel non-mature country" like India and other heavy exporters before imposing such a tariff, the statement said.
"We express regret over the USA government's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel even though the Korean government has pointed out the problems of this action through various channels", Paik said in a meeting with senior officials from Korean steelmakers.
If it is unsuccessful, it will "actively consider" filing a complaint with the WTO in cooperation with other countries, it added.
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