Trump signs safeguard measures against imported washers, solar cells
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order slapping import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.
Kim Hyesung explains how the move could deal a blow to some Korean manufacturing companies.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a set of so-called safeguard measures Tuesday against imports of washing machines and solar cells, including those from South Korea.
"Our action today helps to create jobs in America for Americans. It will provide a strong incentive for LG and Samsung to follow through on their recent promises to build major manufacturing plants for washing machines right here in the United States."
Under the measures, a 20 percent tariff will be imposed on large residential washing machines for the first one-point-two million units imported, then climb to 50 percent for the rest, with tariffs to go down over the next two years.
The tariffs on solar products start after the first 2.5 gigawatts worth of imports... at 30 percent in the first year, and falling to 15 percent by the fourth year.
The move marks the first time in 16 years that the U.S. has issued such safeguard measures.
The administration of then-President George W. Bush imposed a safeguard on steel imports, but it was lifted in 2003 after it was found to violate WTO rules.
"Safeguard measures can be issued when there's a radical surge in imports that does great damage to a country's local industry. But the Trump adminsitration's safeguard measure marks a shift towards protectionism. It's hard to estimate how many U.S. jobs this could help create for now, but it will definitely hurt U.S. consumers, who will have to pay much more."
Korean companies like Samsung and LG are expected to be hit hard.
They exported one billion U.S. dollars worth of washing machines to the U.S. in 2016, accounting for nearly a third of the U.S. washing machine market.
And last year, Korean companies shipped 1-point-3 billion dollars worth of solar cells.
South Korea's trade ministry said Wednesday that it has called on the U.S. to hold bilateral meetings to discuss the safeguard measure.
And a day earlier it announced that it will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization over what it called a violation of WTO provisions.