Korea filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the United States’ safeguard tariffs on its washing machines and solar energy products, Seoul’s Trade Ministry said on May 14.
The ministry said it has formally lodged the suit after failing to reach an understanding with the US government over the import restrictions. The two sides have been engaged in talks for the past three months to resolve the matter outside the WTO.
Under the safeguard measures 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.
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 Washington failed to demonstrate a clear link between increased imports of Korean products and serious harm to US industry.
The ministry said the two parties will hold 60 days of consultations on the washer and solar dispute. If the process fails, the next step could be for Seoul to request a ruling from a panel of trade experts.
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (email@example.com