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At present, vehicles manufactured in the United States and exported to South Korea include Mercedes-Benz GLE, GLE Coupe and GLS and Toyota Sienna.

United States domestic energy-tubular mills were hoping for a quota of 50% on imports from South Korea, a domestic mill source said. Cars account for more than 70 percent of the surplus.

Korea's trade surplus with the U.S. was about $18bn a year ago, down from $23bn in 2016, according to the Korea International Trade Association.

Mnuchin said the US would deal with China in the same way it has handled South Korea when it comes to tariffs on Chinese imports worth $60 billion, which Washington says it is imposing to counter violations of USA intellectual property rights.

Under the pact, Seoul will further open its auto market to United States manufacturers, while accepting a 20-year extension until 2041 to a 25 per cent U.S. tariff on Korean pick-up trucks.

It also doubled the number of vehicles that can enter the Korean market without meeting its safety regulations to 50,000 units a year.

South Korea benefitted from $119.3bn of bilateral trade with the United States a year ago.

By linking the negotiations on steel import duties to the renegotiation on South Korea-U.S. FTA, the two allies have "in principle" reached an agreement to the revised free trade deal except some technical issues. Despite the fact that South Korea's trade surplus with the U.S. has declined slightly over the past 12 months, it still stands at around $18bn, with the majority stemming from the automobile sector.

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United States officials had said Friday an agreement could be announced in the coming week.

South Korean negotiators managed to avoid changes in the treatment of its agriculture sector, a highly sensitive area in domestic politics.

South Korean auto makers should make investments and hire new workers in the United States to build pickup trucks to avoid the 25% tariff, he said.

Trump had railed against the unbalanced auto trade as a sign of why the bilateral free-trade deal was a bad one.

"The best result from a negotiation is when both sides leave the table feeling like they didn't get everything they wanted".

"There are always risks in trade", Kim said. "But, again, we said we'd simultaneously negotiate". Specifically, the quota to be applied to steel sheets is 111% of that of the previous year whereas the quota to be applied to steel pipes such as oil country tubular goods is 53%.

The Seoul government earlier said it is considering filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the safeguard duties as bilateral consultations have failed to yield a compromise. "I think South Korea fared well despite the U.S. offensive". "Companies need to prepare trade dispute lawsuits". Nor is it likely to have much impact on US exports to South Korea.

It was announced last week that South Korea would receive a temporary exemption to the US' 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminum imports, which took effect March 23.