South Korea has been granted an indefinite exemption from metals tariffs, helping reduce fears the US may be moving toward all out trade war. Markets were also up on news the US and China are in trade talks.
Seoul, a key US ally in Asia, was on Monday granted an exemption by the US from tariffs on US imported metals, driving the South Korean benchmark share index up 0.8 percent.
Fears of a trade war rose this month after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and last Thursday targeted China by unveiling plans for tariffs of up to $60 billion (€52 billion) on Chinese goods.
The decision is perhaps a sign the White House is not as dogmatic as its rhetoric might seem.
Trump on Thursday authorized the suspension of the controversial tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from key trade partners including the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea, although only until May 1.
China's Vice Premier Liu He told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that Beijing is ready to defend its interests
US and Chinese officials have meanwhile reportedly begun behind-the-scenes talks to improve US access to the Chinese market, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The newspaper said the discussions, led by China's economic "czar" Liu He, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, cover topics including manufacturing and financial services.
Mnuchin and Lighthizer sent Liu a letter last week with requests including greater US access to China's financial sector, a reduction of Chinese tariffs on US vehicles and that China increase its US semiconductor purchases.
US stock futures jumped on Monday on the news.
jbh/aos (AFP, Reuters)