By Kim Tae Won and Lee Hana
On May 14, the Korean government filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the U.S.’s safeguard tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.
This past January, U.S. President Donald Trump made the decision to impose steep tariffs on these Korean products, claiming that the imported goods somehow hurt the U.S. economy.
Since this announcement, the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has made efforts to call off the decision, negotiating the details with the U.S. government. However, the ministry failed to reach an understanding with the U.S. concerning the import restrictions.
As such, the MOTIE has called for bilateral negotiations with the U.S. on the matter, and filed a dispute settlement at the WTO on May 14.
Should Seoul win the case, it could take measures to reinstate tariffs on imported U.S. goods, amounting to USD 480 million annually.
The U.S. has 30 days from the date of request to carry out the bilateral negotiations. The MOTIE stated that it would ask the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel if the bilateral consultations fall through.