Anchor: The top economic policymakers of South Korea and the United States met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 forum in Washington, where the U.S. Treasury chief promised to take into account Seoul's position on potential auto tariffs. This comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on whether to impose tariffs as high as 25 percent on imported cars and parts next month.
Choi You Sun has the details.
Report: U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said the Donald Trump administration will fully consider South Korea's position on possible U.S. auto tariffs, during talks with his South Korean counterpart in Washington on Thursday.
South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, who was in Washington to attend the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting, called for an exemption of tariffs for reasons of national security as defined by Section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act.
The U.S. Commerce Department concluded in February that auto imports threaten national security, leaving President Trump until next month to decide whether to go ahead and slaps tariffs as highs as 25 percent on imported cars and parts.
South Korea has been lobbying to secure an exemption on the grounds that it already made concessions on automobiles in their revised bilateral trade agreement that took effect in January.
Hong also called for a swift diplomatic resolution to Seoul's ongoing trade row with Tokyo, saying Japan's export curbs violate global trade rules and could have negative implications for the global economy by disrupting the value chain.
Mnuchin, in response, expressed hope for South Korea and Japan to quickly restore their economic cooperation.
The comments follow the two countries' failure to strike an agreement last week in regards to Seoul's complaint with the World Trade Organization over Tokyo's export restrictions, viewed as retaliation over the South Korean Supreme Court's colonial-era compensation rulings.
Hong and Mnuchin also signed the first bilateral memorandum of understanding(MOU) on infrastructure that calls for mutual investment and cooperation in winning joint projects in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Hong said on his social media account that the MOU signals a fresh step forward in the allies' economic cooperation, adding it coincides with both Seoul's New Southern Policy to promote ties with Southeast Asia and Washington's Indo-Pacific Strategy.
In a statement posted on the Treasury Department website, Mnuchin said he expects the deal to help catalyze private sector capital for investments in infrastructure and spur impactful, scaled growth opportunities for both countries.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.