Two liner operators in the U.S.-Korean trades want the Federal Maritime

Commission to allow an extra six weeks for comment on a new complaint arising within the trade.

The additional time was sought to permit the two countries to meet diplomatically on the issue, which involves steel cargoes. The FMC has been looking into conditions in the U.S.-Korean trades for a year.It decided March 28 to hold off further consideration of possible retaliatory steps pending the outcome of discussions between the two countries.

Pacific America Line, just before that March 28 decision, filed a separate, new petition under Section 19 of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act. The petition asked the commission to take steps to offset a Korean cargo preference system allegedly reserving all steel product movements from that country to Korean flags.

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd. and Pan Ocean Shipping Ltd., both potential targets of Pacific America's petition, now want the commission to wait until after the forthcoming diplomatic talks before ending comment periods on the general probe and the new petition.

The commission, March 28, gave carriers and interested parties until July 15 to file their assessment of conditions in the trade, reflecting the forthcoming discussions.

The April 15 deadline for comment on the Pacific America petition was left standing.

Hyundai noted that diplomatic efforts may produce positive results so submissions before they take place would be premature . . . at best inefficient, and at worst would interfere with those efforts.

Pan Ocean noted that it understands that the agenda of the late April diplomatic meeting has been expanded to include discussions of the Pacific America petition.

A delay in the comment deadline would allow those involved to determine whether such filings were even necessary, Pan Ocean added.

Both asked that interested parties be given until May 31 to file their comments.