Washington, Jan 23: US President Dold Trump has imposed steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, the first major step by his administration to protect manufacturers in the country.
The announcement on Monday came after a year of tough rhetoric — but little action — on curbing imports of cheap products from countries like Chi and South Korea. Both countries will be most heavily affected by the move, the New York Times reported. Both Chi and South Korea harshly criticized the action, suggesting they could take their complaints to the World Trade Organization. The administration’s decision came in response to petitions from American manufacturers who have complained for years that rising imports were eating into their sales.
It was in line with Trump’s “America First” trade policy, which aims to protect local manufacturers from foreign competition.
The action was being seen as the President’s most significant trade move since his decision to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal (TPP) and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (fta). The administration said the tariffs were largely directed at Chi, which over the past decade has built itself into the world’s largest manufacturer of solar products, flooding global markets with low-cost crystalline silicon panels. Beijing on Tuesday hinted it could take a similar approach.
“With regard to the wrong measures taken by the US, Chi will work with other WTO members to resolutely defend our legitimate interests,” its Ministry of Commerce said.
South Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said the tariffs may constitute a “violation of WTO provisions”. (IANS)