On January 24, the South Korean government made an official request for negotiations with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) with regard to the recent U.S. safeguard measures against washing machines and photovoltaic cells and modules imported from South Korea.
The government explained that the request is based on Article 12.3 of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards, which stipulates that any country applying a safeguard measure must provide an adequate opportunity for consultations before doing so. The South Korean government is going to point out that the safeguard measures are in violation of the WTO agreement at the negotiations that can be held next week or later.
It is also planning to seek an adequate compensation in conformity to Article 8.1 of the agreement. According to the article, any country applying a safeguard measure must provide the other party with a concession equivalent to the losses of companies in the latter that are attributable to the safeguard measure. In other words, the South Korean government is going to demand a cut in import duty for products other than washing machines.
It also said that it would implement a suspension of concession in accordance with Article 8.2 of the agreement unless the U.S. agrees on the compensation. Namely, it is going to offset the losses attributable to the safeguards by a higher import duty in that case.