S.Korea's trade minister to visit U.S. for tariff exemption plea

SEOUL, March 6 (Reuters) - South Korea's trade minister plans to visit the United States this week to ask that South Korean steel exports be spared President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs, the trade ministry said on Tuesday.

Washington's key Asian ally's request for an exemption comes as Trumps plans for a 25 percent tariff on U.S. imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum have created a global outcry.

South Korea is the third-largest steel exporter to the United States after Canada and Brazil.

Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong will make his second trip to Washington, according to the ministry, after he met last week with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other officials to raise concerns over the so-called Section 232 probe.

"In his outreach, the minister stressed that South Korean steel does not pose a threat to the U.S. steel industry ... and that the section 232 measure could do great damage not only to steel exporters but relevant U.S. industries such as automobiles and airlines and U.S. consumers," the ministry said, referring to his visit last week.

It added that the minister would repeat this stance to U.S. officials and lawmakers in this week's trip.

The South Korean government also sent a letter to the U.S. commerce secretary to request an exemption, the ministry added.

The country's finance minister said on Monday he would convey concerns over trade frictions to the United States during a G20 meeting later this month, noting that they are emerging as a risk to the South Korean economy. (Reporting by Ju-min Park Editing by James Dalgleish)