The World Trade Organization on Tuesday largely sided with Seoul in a years-long dispute with the United States over tariffs it slapped on imports of South Korean washing machines.
Seoul first brought the case against Washington back in 2018 after the administration of former US President Donald Trump imposed so-called safeguard measures on imports of large residential washing machines from South Korea.
South Korea maintained that the measures, which the United States said were necessary to protect US washing machine manufacturers against an increase in South Korean imports, were a violation of international trade rules.
Such safeguard measures are permitted to protect home-grown industries from sudden import increases that harm domestic players.
But an expert panel created by the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body upheld Seoul’s claim that Washington had failed to show that imports of South Korean brands like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics had actually increased.
It also agreed that Washington had inappropriately listed domestic parts production companies who were not in competition with the South Korean makers to its list of affected industries.
The WTO panel meanwhile dismissed several of Seoul’s charges in the case, including that the United States had failed to alert the global trade body to the safeguard measures in a timely fashion.
“We recommend that the United States bring its measure into conformity with its obligations,” the panel concluded.