Trump: ‘Very close’ to trade deal with S. Korea

March 23, 2018
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON, March 23 (Yonhap) — U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. is “very close” to resolving a trade row with South Korea.

The president was apparently referring to the renegotiation of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement as well as Seoul’s push to win an exemption from U.S. tariffs on steel imports.

“The deal with South Korea is — according to Secretary Ross and Bob Lighthizer — is very close to being finished,” he said during a news conference at the White House, referring to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the U.S. trade representative. “And we’re going to have a wonderful deal with a wonderful ally. We’re getting very close to it.”

Speaking alongside Trump, Ross confirmed that the U.S. is “relatively close to a pretty comprehensive resolution” with South Korea.

“It will encompass, if it goes through, both the 232s and broader trade issues. And we hope by sometime next week to be able to have a real announcement,” he said.

Under Section 232 of a trade act, the U.S. on Friday imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

South Korea has won a temporary exemption until the end of April, but will have to continue negotiations for a permanent exemption.

Trump claimed the deal, apparently meaning the free trade agreement, “was causing a lot of problems for our country, in terms of employment and in terms of lots of other things.”