March 15, 2018 / 11:04 AM / 4 months ago

South Korea's Dongkuk Steel to temporarily suspend U.S. exports amid tariff spat

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s Dongkuk Steel said on Thursday that it would temporarily halt its April exports to United States as the country tries to win exemptions from U.S. steel tariffs.

A company spokesman said the steelmaker put on hold its exports for April, while South Korean government has said it keeps asking for the country’s steel to be waived from the tariffs.

“We haven’t decided yet whether or not we will continue to stop exporting our products to U.S,” the spokesman said.

South Korea will “deploy all possible means” to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the country’s finance minister said on Monday.

Dongkuk sold about 130 billion won ($122.29 million) worth of steel products to the U.S. last year, which accounted for about 4 percent of its total sales, according to the spokesman.

Last week, Trump pressed ahead with import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum, but exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies, backtracking from an earlier “no-exceptions” stance.

President Trump said earlier that he was ready to work out an exception for Australia, while Japan, South Korea, the European Union and Brazil called for similar treatment.

South Korea is one of the primary providers of steel for pipeline companies. South Korean oil and drilling pipe makers have said they are considering sending exports to other parts of the world due to difficulties with shipping to the U.S., even before the tariffs go into effect.

($1 = 1,063.0600 won)

Reporting by Jane Chung, Writing by Ju-min Park; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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