South Korean officials have defended the country's makers of solar cells against a possible safeguard action by the United States during a public hearing, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
A team of government officials from the foreign and trade ministries in charge of import regulations in overseas markets participated in the hearing in Washington on Tuesday (local time), according to the ministry.
The hearing is part of a safeguard investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) into crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells imported from foreign countries, including South Korea.
A safeguard action is taken to protect a domestic industry from a sudden jump in imports causing or threatening damage to domestic production.
They demanded the ITC not take a safeguard action, and argued that such a step could dampen the whole related industry and have side effects, such as causing people to lose jobs.
They also called for the trade commission to exclude South Korean companies that sell products U.S. firms do not produce from any such action.
The hearing was also attended by the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association that joined the Korean officials in opposing an action that would hurt the industry.
The hearing is the second of its kind following one held Aug. 15.
Based on the outcome of those hearings, the ITC will make a determination on the issue by Nov. 13. The U.S. administration will unveil its detailed steps in January.
South Korean companies sold US$1.3 billion worth of solar cells in the U.S. in 2016, the third-largest exports following their Malaysian and Chinese rivals. (Yonhap)