The union finds the deal to be ‘humiliating’
Hyundai Motor’s South Korean labor union on Tuesday regarded Seoul’s modified free trade deal with the United States “humiliating”, and stated the extended tariffs on pick-up trucks indicate a missed opportunity to tap into the U.S. industry.
The United States and South Korea agreed to modify a trade pact heavily criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump, Seoul stated on Monday, with the nations agreeing to broaden U.S. tariffs on Korean pickup trucks by 20 years until 2041.
“The union has called for domestic (South Korean) production of pickup trucks for the past several years,” the union stated, adding it considers the U.S. pickup truck industry “represents the U.S. market’s blue ocean and the future bread and butter of the South Korean auto industry”.
Although no South Korean automakers presently export pickup trucks to the United States, Hyundai Motor had stated last year it scheduled to launch a model there to catch up with a shift away from sedans.
The government’s agreement to modify the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement’s auto industry section “is a humiliating negotiation that accepted Trump’s ‘strategy to preemptively block Korean pickup trucks'”, the union stated.
Hyundai achieved less than anybody among major automakers in the United States as of February, with its sales decline of 12 percent year-on-year during the first two months of this year because of its heavy reliance on sedans and its aging SUV models. This compares to the market’s 0.8 percent decline over the period.