China and South Korea have reacted strongly after the United States on Monday imposed steep import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels as part of President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy. Both countries said they would approach the World Trade Organization as the decision violates its rules.
South Korea’s Samsung and LG together have a quarter of the market share in the US, and export 25 lakh to 30 lakh washing machines to the country each year, according to Reuters. China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels.
Curbing imports was a major election promise Trump had made, but it took his administration a year to follow through on it.
“The United States has opted for measures that put political considerations ahead of international standards,” South Korea Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said. “The government will actively respond to the spread of protectionist measures to defend national interests.”
China said the move could harm the global trade environment.
“The US’ decision is an abuse of trade remedy measures, and China expresses strong dissatisfaction regarding this,” Wang Hejun of the Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau was quoted as saying. “China will work with other WTO members to resolutely defend its legitimate interests in response to the erroneous US decision.”