Seoul to take U.S. safeguard measures on washers and solar panels to WTO

Samsung's new Active Wash washing machine, with a built in sink embedded, is displayed at the 2015 International CES, a trade show of consumer electronics, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 6, 2015. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI

SEOUL, March 11 (UPI) — Seoul plans to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against Washington’s decision to impose steep tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.

The Trade Ministry said Sunday that the United States has not followed up on its statement made on Jan. 23, saying it would announce within 40 days on whether the safeguard measures would be revised, reduced or terminated after discussions with WTO member countries.

The 40-day deadline lapsed last Sunday, without a word from Washington, meaning it has ignored Seoul’s repeated request to ease or remove the tariffs from South Korean products.

South Korea called for a bilateral negotiation on the matter, claiming that the “excessive” U.S. safeguard measures may violate WTO rules.

Article 12.3 of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards stipulates that countries that enforce safeguard measures must provide an adequate opportunity for consultations with affected nations.

Also, Article 8.1 requires the country applying safeguards to provide compensation equivalent to the amount of losses that the target countries would face as a result.

If both parties fail to see eye to eye on compensation within 30 days, then the exporting country is alllowed to take retaliatory steps. However, retaliation, in most cases, is permitted after the first three years that the safeguard is imposed, limiting its practical effect.

South Korea has filed a request for retaliation, expecting some $711 million in losses for washer and solar panel producers, E Today reported.

“All the boxes have been ticked in terms of filing a complaint against the U.S. to the WTO,” a trade ministry official said, adding that bilateral talks on the matter are over.

Based on Washington’s track record, Seoul has been preparing to take the case to the dispute and settlement panel.

The U.S. did not compensate affected countries after imposing safeguard measures on steel in 2002, Yonhap reported.


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