South Korea's finance minister has called on his U.S. counterpart to have the Asian country exempt from America's planned auto tariffs, the Seoul government said Sunday.
Kim Dong-yeon made the request during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Buenos Aires on Saturday (local time) on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting.
U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed a 25 percent tariff on imported cars on national security grounds. Korean-made autos are currently exempt from U.S. duties under the bilateral trade pact implemented in 2012, and Seoul has accepted Washington's demands on the auto market access in a recently revised free trade agreement, which has yet to be formally signed.
South Korea's Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon (L) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin ahead of their meeting in Buenos Aires on July 21, 2018. (Yonhap)
"Minister Kim expressed concerns over the ongoing survey by the U.S. government on any impacts of foreign cars on its national security, and strongly called for the exclusion of South Korea from the list of tariff-levying countries," the Minister of Strategy and Finance said in a release.
The two countries "have made fair transactions" based on the revised trade deal, Kim stressed, adding that the South Korean auto industry has played a positive role for the U.S. in employment and investment aspects.
In response, Mnuchin offered continued discussions between the two nations on the matter, according to the Seoul ministry.
In a separate meeting, the South Korean minister met with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation "on a wide range of issues," including the role of the international organization in pushing for future inter-Korean development projects, according to the ministry.
The two-day G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors began in the capital of Argentina on Saturday. (Yonhap News)