South Korea formally initiated a complaint before the World Trade Organization, or WTO, challenging the U.S. government's use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties in certain cases involving South Korean steel products and large power transformers.
In its complaint, South Korea cited six cases wherein the U.S. Department of Commerce allegedly did not assess facts "properly and objectively" in determining duties against South Korean producers or exporters which were deemed to be uncooperative in trade investigations.
Instead, the Department of Commerce relied on "adverse facts available," which has become a consistent practice for the U.S. in violation of international trade rules, South Korea argued.
South Korea and the U.S. have 60 days to engage in consultations to resolve the dispute before Seoul can ask the WTO to adjudicate.
The complaint comes after the Commerce Department recommended to the White House a series of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on grounds of national security.
The proposal includes a global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports from all countries and a tariff of at least 53% on all steel imports from South Korea, China and several other nations.
U.S. President Donald Trump has until April 11 to make a final decision on the proposed steel tariffs and until April 19 on the aluminum tariffs.