According to Kyodo News on Tuesday, South Korea has appealed to World Trade Organization (WTO) over the imposition of anti-dumping duties on Japanese stainless steel, and it leads to uncertainty of the previous ruling, which made the disputes between Japan and South Korea become more complicated.

Japanese stainless steel

In November last year, WTO made a final verdict on the case that Japan claimed that South Korea imposed unfair anti-dumping duties on its stainless steel. Regarding on this case, WTO was in favor of Japan side, and suggested Korea to immediately lift its policies. According to a meeting held by WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on Thursday, Korea filed an appeal against the ruling on Friday (22nd Jan, 2021).

According to the report published by DSB panel, it pointed that there were no reasonable and appropriate evidence showing that the South Korea’s stainless-steel industry would be influenced if the policy was lifted. The Ministry of Economy of Japan said that Japanese stainless steel is high, but it didn’t form competition with Korean stainless steel. And this claim has been basically accepted by WTO.

The report also pointed, if South Korea has any doubts on the verdict, it can appeal to the appellate body within 60 days.

The Ministry of Economy of Japan also said it hopes that South Korea can obey the verdict and immediately lift anti-dumping policy.

South Korea asks the appellate body to make a judgment this time, but the appellate body has been “paralyzed” for more than a year due to the vacancy of the board caused by former US President Donald Trump’s objections. Related experts believe that the issue between Japan and Korea is bound to take a long time due to the member pending of the appellate body.

Regarding on this, Japan criticized South Korea’s move led to the disputes under pending, which makes Japan feel regrettable. And if the appellate body is in favor of Japan’s claim and South Korea fails to correct it, Japan will launch countermeasures such as retaliatory tariffs toward Korea.

People who is familiar with this situation said that WTO members has called for this body to replenish as soon as possible at a DSB meeting held on Friday. Regarding on this, US Biden didn’t not give the exact attitude, saying that the government has just started and it is still in a transitional period.

It is known that the dispute is about stainless steel used in industrial machinery and auto parts. South Korea said the low price of Japanese stainless steel damaged its domestic industry. And in 2004, Korea government imposed with tariffs of 15.39 percent. The Ministry of Economy of Japan said Korea has imposed 5.6 billion yen by the end of June, 2017. Although Japan sides requested for a proper investigation, Korea government still extended the policy for a third time in June 2017.