This study identifies potential threats to exporters to the U.S. caused by the recent changes in U.S. trade remedies. A close examination is conducted of U.S. trade remedy measures against Korean businesses. The second chapter reviews the political and economic background of the recent legislations for U.S. trade remedies. The third and fourth chapters analyze the institutional and implementational changes in antidumping and countervailing duties, and safeguard measures carried out under the Trump administration, respectively.
Our results find that the series of amendments to U.S. trade remedy laws aim to grant the two investigation authorities, i.e. the U.S. International Trade Commission and Department of Commerce, greater discretion in making their decisions and in calculating the price advantage provided to foreign exporters. In antidumping and countervailing duty cases such amendments lead to more facile application of a higher dumping margin or subsidy rate to foreign producers through an increase in normal value, use of Particular Market Situation (PMS) or Adverse Facts Available (AFA) or both, and a failure to cooperate on the part of a respondent. In doing so they serve the purpose of strengthening the position of U.S. domestic industries with protectionist tendencies.
The study shows that the U.S. laws on safeguards, general and security, have not changed much since the enactments, but there has been a significant change in their implementations. The Trump administration has consecutively triggered general safeguard measures against Korean residential washing machines and solar products for the first time in 16 years, and initiated investigations on a threat to national security posed by imported steel, aluminum, and automobile products. It has employed general safeguards to prevent foreign exporters from circumventing antidumping duties, which may not be in line with their original purpose, and has been applying security safeguards rarely used in the past to a breadth of imports, aggressively interpreting the definition of national security.