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Korean firms call on US to ease protectionism.

Korean business delegates visiting the United States are asking their American counterparts and think tanks to make concerted efforts to ease the Trump administration's protectionist trade stance.

According to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), Wednesday, 39 delegates from domestic businesses including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, POSCO Daewoo, Hanwha Q CELLS and Hyundai Steel accompanied KITA Chairman Kim Young-joo to visit the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

During the visit to the AEI, Samsung Electronics said it and LG Electronics were "nervous about what kind of new trade measures will be additionally imposed and how much damage will be dealt."

Hyundai Steel said the U.S. unfairly imposed a 50 percent anti-dumping duty on it even though it wasn't pricing its steel products lower in the U.S. than in Korea and it is supplying steel to Korean firms active in the U.S., such as Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.

Hanwha Q CELLS, a photovoltaic (PV) solar cell manufacturer, also expressed concern for the expected protraction of U.S. trade protectionism.

Their appeals continued during their visit to the Heritage Foundation. POSCO Daewoo stressed the U.S. Commerce Department's antidumping investigations relied on adverse facts-available (AFA) used against it and asked for help from the foundation and the U.S. Congress.

The use of AFA refers to the Commerce Department's practice of applying the most negative and adverse facts available in investigation when it judges the investigated company as not cooperative enough for the investigation.

During a visit with Senator Jim Inhofe for Oklahoma, Iljin Global, a Korean manufacturer of bearings for motor vehicles, cried foul over the Commerce Department's "pressure" on it over dumping allegations. The Iljin Global delegate said the company has been operating factories in South Carolina and Alabama, and General Motors and Chrysler selected it as best supplier.

U.S. trade experts supported their claims during a forum held by KITA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

During the forum, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Charles Freeman said Korean firms' investments in the U.S. reached a record high of $12.9 billion in 2016, creating 52,000 jobs. Their average wage is also $91,700, which is a high level among foreign enterprises.

"Though the U.S. revised rules on using AFA and trade concepts against China, those are used on firms from Korea, which is the strongest ally and economic partner of the U.S.," KITA Chairman Kim said.

"Korea continues to expand investments in the U.S. and well understands that only the most competitive companies can survive in the U.S. market, which is one of the world's best consumer markets. To help Korean firms establish factories in the U.S. and produce the best products, there should be more smoothness in the import of materials and parts into the U.S.," Kim said.

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Apr 18, 2018
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