South Korea works to ease 70% steel import quota limit set by US

South Korea is working to ease the steel import quota limits imposed by the United States following its Section 232 investigations, the Korea Iron & Steel Association (Kisa) said on Monday March 26.

The 70% quota is based on the average US import volumes from South Korea for 2015-2017, which is about 74% of 2017’s total, and was imposed after the US exempted South Korea from the Section 232 import tariff of 25% on political grounds.

South Korea exported 3.62 million tonnes of steel to the US in 2017, out of which was 3.56 million tonnes was carbon and alloy steel.

About one-third of the steel shipped from South Korea to the US, or 1.06 million tonnes, was oil country tubular goods (OCTG), along with 697,086 tonnes of line pipe. Sources said these two markets would be most affected by the tariffs/quotas.

Some 229,014 tonnes were metallic coated sheet and strip, and the US also imported 61,681 tonnes of stainless steel from South Korea in 2017, of which 23,489 tonnes were cold-rolled stainless sheet and 18,300 tonnes stainless steel tube & pipe.

South Korea shipped 4.40 million tonnes of steel to the US in 2015 and 3.46 million tonnes in 2016.

The South Korean steel industry is planning to implement various steel export control measures after the negotiations with the US, including a detailed export control plan and setting up a steel trading commission, which will work to limit the impact of the expected drop in steel export volumes to the US.

Kisa said the current situation was better than the 63% import quota limit initially proposed by the US government.

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