S. Korea asks for exclusion from U.S. steel tariffs

SEOUL, South Korea's national security adviser asked top U.S. officials to exclude its Asian ally from a list of countries subject to heavy U.S. tariffs on steel, an official said Friday.

Chung Eui-yong, chief of the South's presidential national security office, made the request when he met with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in Washington, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

President Moon Jae-in ordered Chung to make the request before his departure for the U.S.

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed proclamations authorizing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Mexico and Canada were the only countries to be exempted, as negotiations to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. are currently under way.

In a meeting with Mattis, Chung stressed that the South and the U.S. are maintaining an iron-clad alliance, as seen in Thursday's surprising agreement on a summit between the U.S. and the North, and therefore the country should be excluded from the tariffs for the sake of the alliance, according to Kim.

Chung made the request to Mattis because the U.S. considers steel imports a threat to national security. Chung made the same request when he met with McMaster, Kim said.

Both U.S. officials responded positively to the request, saying they will look into the matter, the spokesman said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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