GM, Hyundai and Kia escape US auto tariffs on South Korean-made cars


The 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer is one of a handful of vehicles to be exported from South Korea to the U.S. by General Motors in 2020.


As the Trump administration weighs a plan to increase tariffs on European-made vehicles and continues unprecedented trade negotiations with China, a safe haven for automakers to import vehicles to the U.S. tariff-free is South Korea.

It’s a situation that’s unlikely to change anytime soon as President Donald Trump renegotiated a trade deal with the country in 2018. That accord was touted for improving vehicle imports to South Korea, but it did little to address vehicle exports to the U.S., which are expected to hit a new record this year.

South Korean-made vehicles are forecast to account for about 5.5%, or 923,000, of U.S. vehicle sales this year, according to LMC Automotive. That’s up from 4.5% last year and comparable with European-made vehicles at about 7%.

“You’ve got some decent numbers coming in volume-wise,” said Jeff Schuster, president of the Americas and global vehicle forecasts at automotive industry forecasting firm. “It’s relatively stable from a…

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