South Korean carmakers troubled

18 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

SEOUL: South Korean carmakers remain on edge as a decision on tariffs by US President Donald Trump looms closer, with the Department of Commerce reportedly having concluded in its confidential recommendation report due Sunday that auto imports could hurt national security.

Last week, Agence France-Presse reported the Department of Commerce had concluded that auto imports are “a threat to national security,” citing two unnamed sources and the report expected to be delivered to the White House by Sunday, report agencies.

The recommendations of the report came as Trump had requested the government to look into whether auto imports endanger US national security on the grounds that imported cars undermine the local car industry and take away jobs. Based on the report, he will make a decision in 90 days on whether to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported cars.

Such a tariff would take a heavy toll on the Korean automobile industry because its largest car export destination is the US. As of 2017, Korea exported around 840,000 cars to the US, accounting for one-third of the nation’s total car export volume.