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S. Korea to counter U.S. anti-dumping duties on steel, transformers at WTO

2018/02/14 11:20

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SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's trade ministry said Wednesday it will challenge the United States' slapping anti-dumping duties on Korean steel and transformers at the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming the rates were set unfairly high.

The move comes after Washington slapped duties of up to 60.8 percent on Korean steel products from May to September 2016 and large power transformers in March 2017 using the Adverse Facts Available (AFA) provision.

The AFA provision allows for the levying of extremely high anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs if an accused company doesn't provide the data demanded by the U.S.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it will request consultations with the U.S. government and notify the WTO of its intent on Wednesday. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement within 60 days of the preliminary procedure, the ministry said it will request setting up a dispute settlement body to deal with the issue at the trade body.

The Seoul government said it decided to bring the matter to the WTO as its past attempts to resolve the issue through various channels have resulted in no progress.

Trade tensions between the two nations continue to simmer, as the U.S. government has put in place more import restrictions on foreign goods under President Donald Trump's "America First" trade policy.

Trump last month signed a move that would place safeguard tariffs of up to 30 percent on imported washing machines and solar cells. The president claimed such a step would better protect American jobs.

Since January, bilateral talks have been under way over the U.S. safeguard measures. If no understanding is reached in the 60-day window, Seoul can lodge a complaint with the WTO next month.

During the second round of talks to amend the bilateral free trade agreements earlier this month, South Korean negotiators raised issues related to the anti-dumping procedure and expressed strong concerns over rising trade remedies by the U.S. government, the country's trade minister Kim Hyun-chong said earlier.