South Korea may consider filing WTO complaint over U.S. solar tariffs

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s trade ministry said on Thursday it may consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to U.S. solar panel import restrictions.

The country’s trade ministry said in a statement that it will take all available measures and weigh the possibility of taking the case to the WTO once a detailed report from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is released on Nov. 13.

The move came as the ITC on Tuesday made three different recommendations for restricting solar cell and panel imports including an immediate 35 percent tariff on all imported panels.

The United States has been keen to address trade imbalances and protect U.S. manufacturers against cheaper imported goods such as steel and autos, coming into the U.S. market.

Last year, South Korean solar power equipment manufacturers including Hanwha Q CELLS Co Ltd HQCL.O exported about $1.3 billion worth of solar cells and modules to the United States, making up 15.6 percent of the U.S. solar market, a trade ministry official said citing ministry data.

Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Christopher Cushing