Wed, Jan 24, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Trump angers S Korea, China with new tariffs

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump has approved steep tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines to protect US manufacturers, triggering an outcry in China and South Korea and even protests at home.

Seoul yesterday said it planned to take the issue to the WTO, while Beijing expressed “strong dissatisfaction.”

“Together with other WTO members, China will resolutely defend its legitimate interests,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said, without indicating any specific counteraction.

At home in the US, the move was decried by the solar industry, which said the tariffs would create a “crisis” and cost thousands of US jobs and billions in investment without helping domestic suppliers meet rising demand.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the tariffs were imposed after an “exhaustive” review by his agency and the independent US International Trade Commission, which determined that US makers were “seriously injured by imports.”

The US administration imposed tariffs of up to 50 percent on imports of large washing machines over three years and up to 30 percent on solar panels over four years.

South Korea, which has signed a free-trade deal with the US and is a crucial ally in Washington’s confrontation with North Korea, said it would a file a petition at the WTO.

South Korean Minister of Trade Kim Hyun-chong said the tariffs were “excessive” and might constitute a “violation of WTO provisions.”

Samsung, South Korea’s biggest company, said the tariffs were “a tax on every consumer who wants to buy a washing machine.”

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