UPDATE 1-S.Korea will 'deploy all possible means' to respond to U.S. tariffs -finmin

-finmin@ (Recasts, adds details about trade partnership)

SEOUL, March 12 (Reuters) - South Korea will "deploy all possible means" to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the country's finance minister said on Monday.

"We will make clear what our stance is," Kim Dong-yeon said during a policy meeting in Seoul.

"(The government) will deploy all possible means to respond to U.S. steel tariffs measures and make an all-out effort," Kim said, without elaborating.

The United States opened the way for more exemptions from its steel and aluminum tariffs on Friday, after pressure from allies and intense lobbying from lawmakers, further diluting the measures just a day after they were formally announced.

South Korea's government will also decide on whether to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) within the first half of this year, Kim said in the meeting on Monday.

Eleven countries, including Japan and Canada, signed a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement without the United States on Thursday in what one minister called a powerful signal against protectionism and trade wars.

"The government has been reviewing economic validity of CPTPP, and will draw agreement between the related government agencies about joining it within the first half," Kim said.

(Reporting by Shin-hyung Lee, Cynthia Kim, Dahee Kim; Editing by Peter Cooney and Biju Dwarakanath)