U.S. President Donald Trump has delayed a decision on whether to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported vehicles and auto parts for six months.
South Korean passenger cars exported to the U.S. are currently subject to two-point-five percent tariffs.
The White House said in a statement Friday that it postponed the decision on tariffs on autos imported from the European Union, Japan and other countries by up to six months. This means the decision can be put off until November.
The U.S. Department of Commerce in February submitted a report to President Trump on the assessed impact of imported cars and parts on U.S. national security. Trump was to make a final decision by Saturday following a 90-day review period of the report.
The delayed decision appears to be in consideration of trade negotiations under way with Japan and the EU.
Regarding South Korean vehicles, which were speculated to possibly win a tariff exemption, the White House only said the renegotiated Korea-U.S. free trade agreement has been considered and it will help better respond to threats to national security.
The Seoul government is analyzing the meaning of the tariff decision delay.
Noting that the U.S. positively assessed the Korea-U.S. FTA, one trade official said it's unclear whether Korea is included in the "other countries" the U.S. mentioned for which tariffs will be determined in six months' time.
The revised FTA with the U.S. went into effect early this year.
The latest announcement makes it clear that levying import duties based on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act mainly targets Japanese and European cars.