The Korea Economic Research Institute remarked on January 30 that South Korean companies need to bring the U.S. safeguard measures on South Korean washing machines and solar panels to the U.S. Court of International Trade as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) because they may come to a dead end, even if they win at the WTO, once the United States does not comply with the WTO’s ruling.
“With the midterm election scheduled for November around the corner, the United States’ import restrictions on South Korean products are likely to expand to cover general consumer electronics, a variety of manufactured goods and so on as well as washing machines and solar panels,” said Ewha Womans University professor Choi Won-mok, adding, “Once South Korea wins at the WTO and the U.S. chooses to defy, few options will remain for the former, such as trade retaliation under the authorization of the WTO.” He went on to say, “Still, trade retaliation cannot be an ultimate solution in view of the two countries’ diplomatic and military relations.”
Back in 2013, the United States imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on washing machines imported from South Korea. At that time, the South Korean government filed a suit with the WTO regarding the issue in August 2013 and the WTO ruled in favor of South Korea in September 2016. Nonetheless, the U.S. is continuing to levy the same anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
The professor pointed out that the South Korean government’s countermeasures need to be fundamentally reviewed and a dispute settlement at the U.S. Court of International Trade can be a viable option. “The constitutional structure of the United States puts much emphasis on the judicial branch and, as such, the U.S. President cannot defy the ruling of the branch,” the professor explained, adding, “In addition, South Korean companies are winning more and more cases at the court these days, including the case of Hyundai Steel.”