The White House announces its revised trade deal with South Korea

President Trump gets his first win on trade in South Korea
(Image credit: Jeon Heon-Kyun - Pool /Getty Images)

On Tuesday eveninig, White House officials announced that the Trump administration had successfully renegotiated the six-year-old South Korea-U.S. trade agreement (KORUS), giving President Trump his first major trade deal since being elected. In return for exemption from Trump's 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, South Korea agreed to limit its U.S. steel exports to 2.68 million tons a year, or roughly 70 percent of its average exports from 2015 to 2017; allow twice as many U.S.-made cars, 50,000 per manufacturer, into Korea without meeting local safety standards; and extend for 20 years a 25 percent tariff on South Korean pickup trucks exported to the U.S. The Trump administration also said it was wrapping up a nonenforceable side deal to deter currency devaluations by South Korea.

An unidentified senior administration official told reporters that the "historic" agreement in principle "is visionary and innovative, and it underscores a pattern of failure by previous administrations to negotiate fair and reciprocal trade deals." Trump had threatened to rip up KORUS if South Korea did not renegotiate, and the threatened steel tariff provided another carrot and stick for U.S. negotiators. It's not clear Trump's "America First" strong-arm tactics will work with larger trading partners like China, Canada, and Mexico. And not everyone is as impressed as the White House with the deal.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.