The United States on Monday issued safeguard measures on imports of large residential washing machines and solar cells, in a potential blow to South Korean manufacturers.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the measures were approved by President Donald Trump.
"The (U.S.) ITC (International Trade Commission) found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President," he said in a written statement. "The President's action makes clear again that the Trump Administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard."
The measures include a 20 percent tariff on the first 1.2 million units of imported large residential washers and a 50 percent tariff on units exceeding the quota. The below-quota rate goes down to 18 percent and 16 percent in the second and third years, respectively. For units exceeding the quota, the rate goes down to 45 percent and 40 percent.
On imported solar cells and modules, the tariff rate will range from 30-15 percent over the next four years after the first 2.5 gigawatts.
South Korea has pushed to stop the U.S. from imposing the restrictions, arguing the move would only damage U.S. interests.
Samsung and LG -- two South Korean manufacturers -- exported a combined $1 billion in large residential washing machines to the U.S. in 2016. They held 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively, of a market led by U.S. rival Whirlpool at 38 percent.
That year, South Korean companies also exported US$1.3 billion in solar cells to the U.S., ranking third in the world after Malaysia and China, according to government data.