Seoul to File Wto Petition After Feb. 7

The government is expected to file a petition with the World Trade Organization (WTO) after Feb. 7 over U.S. safeguard measures against Korean washing machines and solar panels, a trade ministry official said Sunday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Korea is considering notifying the WTO of a request for consultation, based on article 4 of the organization's dispute settlement understanding. Notification of a request is the first step toward settlement of a dispute.

By submitting a request to the WTO dispute settlement body, the government will indicate problems in the import regulations and explain how the measures violate WTO agreements.

The move seems to be one way Korea can strengthen its position before the second round of talks on the amendment of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).

The two countries will hold a two-day meeting regarding the issue in Seoul this week.

Korea is set to express its doubts about the safeguard tariffs, and the U.S. will likely talk about automobiles.

Although the petition against the safeguard measures and the revisions of the KORUS FTA are officially different matters, Korea will cite the import regulations as an example of the US's breach of article 10.5 of the KORUS FTA.

The article reads that the agreement does not confer any additional rights or obligations on the parties with regard to actions taken under the safeguards agreement, except that a party taking a global safeguard measure may exclude imports of an originating good of the other party if such imports are not a substantial cause of serious injury or threat thereof.

The Donald Trump administration imposed safeguard tariffs on Korean...

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