Australia has complained at the World Trade Organization about Canada's rules on wine sales, expanding a similar US complaint against one Canadian region. (Reuters Photo/Ruben Sprich)

South Korea Seeks Trade Sanctions on US as Disputes Pile Up


JANUARY 14, 2018

Geneva. South Korea has asked the World Trade Organization for authorization to impose annual trade sanctions worth at least $711 million on the United States, a filing published by the WTO showed on Friday (12/01).

As well as those sanctions, arising from a dispute over trade in washing machines, Seoul also asked for permission to impose an open-ended amount of trade sanctions if Washington broke the same rules again with regard to other products.

The demand adds to a growing list of reproaches of US trade policy, especially the punitive duties with which it often targets allegedly unfair trade.

In the past week alone, the WTO has published a broad Canadian complaint about the US trade rulebook and a WTO filing on Friday showed Vietnam has complained about US tariffs on fish.

India has also reopened a US dispute, alleging Washington has failed to comply with a ruling on solar power.

Trade tension is rising because of US demands to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and virtual paralysis in the WTO dispute system, caused by a US veto on new judges at what is effectively the world trade supreme court.

South Korea said it was demanding compensation because the United States had failed to meet a Dec. 26 deadline to comply with a ruling against duties of up to 82 percent it had imposed on appliances made by Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Daewoo Electronics.

Earlier on Friday, the United States and South Korea formally accepted a WTO ruling in a separate dispute over US duties on South Korean steel pipe used in oil drilling, according to transcripts of statements at the WTO's dispute settlement meeting.

South Korea's representative expressed disappointment that the ruling had not recognized "the magnitude of US political pressure" – including letters from over 50 senators and 150 members of the House of Representatives – that prompted the US Department of Commerce to drastically beef up its claim against South Korea.

South Korea's Trade Ministry is also considering filing a WTO complaint over US restrictions on solar panel imports, it said in November.