South Korea needs to consider a complaint to WTO over US protectionism, says steel company official – * South Korea trade official says govt open to “all options”
* POSCO, Hyundai Steel shares rise after US probe launched
South Korea, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Donald Trump, United States (US), China, Joo Hyung-hwan (Reuters)
The South Korean government and steel industry should consider all measures including filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in response to “deepening US trade protectionism,” a steel company official said.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday launched a trade probe against China and other exporters of cheap steel into the US market, raising the possibility of new tariffs. The United States (US) has already slapped a series of anti-dumping duties on steel imports from South Korea and other countries.
South Korea’s steel association said the United States is the biggest market after China for South Korean steel products, and accounted for about 12 percent of the country’s total exports of the metal in 2016. A senior official at South Korea’s trade ministry said the government was considering its response to the US move.
“We are open to all possible options including filing a complaint with WTO but nothing has been decided. We will decide after listening to opinions of the Korean steel industry,” the official said. The ministry official and the company official asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. “The government will closely monitor related trends and will actively respond together with private companies,” South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement.
The country’s trade minister Joo Hyung-hwan will have a meeting with Korean steel companies on April 27 to gather opinions and discuss ways to deal with the situation, the ministry said. POSCO shares closed up 2.5% on Friday and Hyundai Steel ended up 1.1%, outperforming the wider market’s 0.7% rise.
“Rising trade protectionism is negative to the steel industry overall, but the industry has been recovering, helping cushion the negative impact,” said Will Byun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. POSCO said on Tuesday that its first-quarter operating profit more than doubled, beating its estimate on solid demand from China.