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Trump's protectionist rhetoric, Park's scandal weigh on South Korean economy

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A Kia Motors manufacturing plant in Pesqueria, on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- Protectionist rhetoric surrounding Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election and political uncertainties due to a corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye are weighing on the already fragile South Korean economy, analysts said Monday.

Experts say that South Korean automakers that produce cars in Mexico will suffer if the incoming U.S. president imposes heavy tariffs on South Korea, which now enjoys none thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump has pledged to renegotiate the terms of the agreement with NAFTA partners, possibly imposing a duty of 35% on vehicles imported to the U.S. from Mexico.

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