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US-South Korea steel deal tests WTO rules

What the Trump administration calls a 'win-win' borders on a quantitative restriction

A Hyundai Steel plant. South Korean steel has won an exemption from a 25% U.S. tariff.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- South Korea has agreed in principle to a limit on steel exports to the U.S. that experts say threatens to undermine World Trade Organization rules.

The deal came during a renegotiation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS. South Korea's trade ministry confirmed Monday that Seoul had accepted in principle an annual quota of 2.68 million tons that will be exempted from the 25% steel tariff that the U.S. put into effect Friday.

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