GENEVA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization
recommended on Thursday that the United States revise a series
of duties imposed in the pre-Trump era on South Korea,
presenting new U.S. President Joe Biden with a dilemma.
A day after Biden's inauguration, his new administration
faces a test of its multilateral credentials, with a choice
between complying with the WTO ruling or lodging an appeal to
put the case into a legal void.
The United States has up to 60 days to appeal. If it does
so, the case would enter a legal limbo because the Trump
administration paralysed the WTO's Appellate Body by blocking
appointments and leaving it with too few adjudicators to rule.
The duties were imposed on four grades of steel in 2016 and
on large power transformers in 2012 under the administration of
Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, whose vice president
A three-person WTO panel found that the U.S. Department of
Commerce failed to take into account all the information
available when it calculated the level of dumping or subsidies.
The Commerce Department had not specified in detail the
information requested, did not take into account some of the
information submitted and rejected other information provided
after a certain date, the panel found.
The tariffs on transformer makers Hyosung Heavy Industries
Corp and Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co
and steelmakers from Hyundai Steel and
POSCO were therefore inconsistent with WTO rules,
the panel said.
The European Union also joined the case, saying steel
producers in Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, then an EU
member, had also suffered from this U.S. practice.
South Korea did though fail to convince the panel that U.S.
authorities had an "unwritten measure" of using the most adverse
facts available in order to maximise duties, where an exporter
had failed fully to cooperate.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop
Editing by Gareth Jones and Jonathan Oatis)