Korea plans retaliation against U.S. over tariffsKorea will seek to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported goods from the United States in response to its safeguard duties on Korean washers and solar products, the Trade Ministry said Friday.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suspend tariff concessions equivalent to the amount of trade affected by U.S. safeguard measures on the large residential washers and solar cells and modules.
As the U.S. tariff aimed at protecting American companies would cost $480 million annually, the ministry said it will push for duties equivalent to the potential financial damage on Korean companies.
“South Korea pointed out that the U.S. safeguard action violates WTO regulations and asked for compensation equivalent to the damage on Korean companies during bilateral consultations in February, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement,” the ministry said in a release. “The ministry has notified the WTO of its plan to suspend its trade concessions on U.S. imports and will submit the list of items later.”
Under the safeguard measure that took effect in February, a 20 percent tariff will apply on the first 1.2 million imported washers in the first year and a 50 percent tariff on machines beyond that number. A 30 percent tariff will be imposed on imported solar cells and modules above 2.5 gigawatts in the first year.
The ministry said it will select “timely” and “effective” items subject to countervailing duties based on the market situation when the suspension of tariff concession takes effect.
To withhold tariff concession, WTO’s dispute settlement body should rule that U.S. safeguard actions are violation of its regulations.
While a safeguard action is taken to protect a domestic industry from a sudden surge in imports causing or threatening damage to domestic production, Seoul’s Trade Ministry has claimed the U.S. government failed to demonstrate a clear link between increased imports of Korean products and serious harm to U.S. industry.
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