Republic of Korea


On December 16, 2020, US Department of the Treasury delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. Treasury determined that both Vietnam and Switzerland are currency manipulators. For each country, Treasury assessed, based on a range of evidence and circumstances, that at least part of its exchange rate management over the four quarters through June 2020, and particularly foreign exchange intervention, was for…

On December 23, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice setting the US dollar procurement thresholds to implement certain US trade agreement obligations, as of January 1, 2020, for calendar years 2020 and 2021. Executive Order 12260 requires the USTR to set the US dollar procurement thresholds for application of Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (TAA; 19 U.S.C. 2511 et…

On September 24, 2018, President Trump and President Moon signed a document “pledging that our countries will take the additional necessary steps to implement the new United States-Korea trade agreement” at the United Nations in New York. Although President Trump referred to “the new United States Korea trade agreement,” President Moon referred to “amendments and modifications to improve the existing agreement.” The actual document signed was short:

As you may recall, early last year, President Trump issued two presidential memoranda instructing the U.S. Commerce Department to initiate an investigation into the national security implications of steel imports and aluminum imports into the United States.  If these so-called “section 232” (section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended) investigations determine that steel import and/or aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security[,]” then the President can impose additional customs duties (among other things) on covered products.

On June 16, 2018, the Secretary of Commerce issued his reports to the President in both matters (unclassified versions of the reports are available here).   In each case, the Department of Commerce concluded that the quantities and circumstances surrounding steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” thereby opening the door to the imposition of import restraints.  Specifically, Commerce’s recommendations are as follows: