South Korea says will talk to U.S. on trade frictions at G20 meeting

FILE PHOTO: South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon speaks during his inaugural ceremony in Sejong government complex in Sejong, South Korea, June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s finance minister said on Monday the government will convey its concerns on trade frictions to the United States and others at a meeting of the Group of 20 nations later this month.

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that the United States would impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, raising fears of a trade war with major trading partners.

South Korea, the third-largest steel exporter to the United States after Canada and Brazil, has said it will keep talking to U.S. officials in a bid to minimize negative impacts until Washington’s plans for tariffs are finalised.

“We will make use of the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in March, and hold a bilateral meeting with the U.S. and other major nations to explain our stance,” Kim Dong-yeon said in a policy meeting with other South Korean ministers in Seoul.

The meeting of finance ministers will be March 19-20 in Buenos Aires.

“Globally, there is a trend that trade frictions are expanding. It is emerging as a risk to the global economy and our economy,” Kim said.

Kim said the government will focus on diversifying export strategies, which will include strengthening trade ties with countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Despite threats of retaliation from trading partners and a slide in stock markets, Trump struck a defiant tone, saying trade wars were good and easy to win.

However, a top trade adviser for Trump said a process will be put in place for businesses to get exemptions.

Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Richard Borsuk