South Korea notifies WTO about suspending tariff concessions on US goods

On Friday, South Korea said it had notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it seeks to suspend tariff concessions on imported US goods worth $480 million, in response to U.S. measures against South Korean imports.

It is reminded that on February, US President Donald Trump imposed a steep tariff on imported washing machines and solar panels, in what he saw a move to protect the American manufacturers. The backlash from both China and South Korea, which found themselves at a trade war with Washington, was fierce.

South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement that it has informed the WTO Council for Trade in Goods that its plan to suspend tariff concessions on imported US goods, which are equal in value to the South Korean washing machines and solar panels affected by US tariffs. The Ministry further added that as the date of implementation grows near, it will release the full details of the US products that will be subject to the suspension.

According to the WTO framework, a country’s right of suspension on concessions of a trading partner cannot be exercised for up to three years from when the trading partner’s safeguards take effect.

Amid escalating fears of a full-blown trade war, Trump said on Thursday he had ordered an additional $100 billion new tariffs on China, stepping up his protectionist actions. This decision came after Beijing announced plans to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft.

On Friday, China responded to Trump’s action vowing to fight the US “at any cost”. “China will dedicate itself to the end and at any cost and will definitely fight back firmly” if the U.S. persists in its “protectionism,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

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