South Korea says it will take nothing for granted regarding possible U.S. auto tariffs and be ready to thoroughly respond to any decisions made by Washington.
First Vice Economy and Finance Minister Lee Ho-seung spoke on Friday after presiding over a joint meeting with the private sector to check on external economic risks.
Lee said it is too early to judge until the U.S. announces a final decision, adding the South Korean government will keep a close eye on related situations and take necessary measures in a timely manner.
He said the government will postulate various scenarios as to how the U.S. will decide on the issue and draft countermeasures to limit its impact on South Korea’s real economy sectors such as finance, industry and employment.
The vice minister said regardless of U.S. decisions, the government will seek diversification of the auto export markets and raise the competitiveness of South Korean cars as part of its long-term strategies.
The U.S. Commerce Department concluded in February that auto imports threaten America's national security. U.S. President Donald Trump has until Saturday to decide whether to push ahead with slapping a tariff as high as 25 percent on imported vehicles and parts.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Trump will delay a decision by six months and that South Korea will be exempt from tariffs.