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Deputy trade chief to visit U.S. for talks on supply chain, steel tariffs

SEOUL-- Deputy Trade Minister Jeong Dae-jin plans to visit Washington this week for talks on supply chains of key materials and steel tariff issues, the trade ministry said Sunday.

During the three-day visit starting on Monday, Jeong will have a series of meetings with officials of the White House, the Commerce Department, the U.S. Trade Representative office, Congress and major think tanks to boost cooperation on a range of bilateral trade and industry issues, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The meetings will be focused on follow-up measures on the establishment of a new dialogue channels, as the two sides agreed last month to create a channel to jointly address supply chain challenges and issues of new technologies.

Also on the table will be tariffs on South Korea's steel and aluminum exports.

The Seoul government has also sought negotiations with the U.S. to revise the Section 232 tariff rules, after Washington decided in October to lift tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump.

In 2018, the U.S. waived the tariffs on South Korean products, but it was in return for a yearly import quota of 2.63 million tons of steel, or 70 percent of Seoul's average steel products export volume over the past three years.

Jeong will also have discussions on the U.S.' plan to launch a new economic framework in the Indo-Pacific region and steel tariffs, according to the ministry.

Washington has said that it is looking to form a fresh economic framework in the region, rather than joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The CPTPP, which is the renegotiated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was launched in 2018 after Trump withdrew from the TPP the previous year. The partnership has 11 members, including Australia and Japan, with China applying for the pact. South Korea is reviewing the option of joining it.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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