‘America First’ tariffs on imports spark Asia outcry

'America First' tariffs on imports spark Asia outcry

‘America First’ tariffs on imports spark Asia outcry

China and South Korea have vowed to defend their interests after the US imposed new tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.

The tariffs – of up to 50% – will affect the two Asian countries more than any other.

They are part of US President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade policy, which aims to protect local manufacturers from foreign competition.

South Korea said it would complain to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

China, the world’s biggest solar panel producer, said the move was an “overreaction” and pledged to “work with other WTO members to resolutely defend its legitimate interests”.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against tariffs at the World Economic Forum in Davos in an apparent reference to the US measures, although India’s own finance ministry is planning a 70% tariff on Chinese solar panels.

“Forces of protectionism are raising their heads against globalisation. Their intention is not only to avoid globalisation themselves but they also want to reverse its natural flow,” Mr. Modi said.

Samsung, a South Korean company, said consumers in the US would be negatively affected by the measures.

“Everyone will pay more with fewer choices,” a company statement said.

South Korea’s LG Electronics also said the move would harm employment prospects at its new factory.

Mexico said it was “regrettable” that it was not excluded from the tariffs, adding that it would “use all available legal resources in response to the US decision”.

In the US, the Solar Energy Industries Association, which campaigned against the decision, estimated that 23,000 American jobs would also be lost. It believes the US will not be able to keep up with demand for panels, meaning there will be less work for those producing complimentary technology and fittings.

BBC

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