By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Tuesday it will appeal the World Trade Organization's ruling that Seoul partially violated anti-dumping rules when imposing tariffs on Japanese stainless steel bars.
The verdict came after Japan filed a lawsuit against South Korea in 2018, claiming that Asia's No. 4 economy has unreasonably imposed anti-dumping tariffs on the products.
South Korea has been imposing anti-dumping tariffs on stainless steel bars imported from Japan, India and Spain since July 2004.
South Korea has been slapping 15.39 percent tariffs on steel bars from Japanese companies, such as Sanyo, Daido and Aichi, since 2004.
Japan argues that its products do not directly compete with South Korean goods as they are different in nature.
Stainless steel bars are utilized in making auto parts, medical instruments, construction materials and other industrial goods. The size of the South Korean market for the products was estimated at around 400 billion won (US$362 million), or 100,000 tons, in 2018.
"Until a final decision is made under the dispute-settlement procedure at the WTO, South Korea will maintain anti-dumping measures on Japanese stainless steel bars," the ministry said in a statement.
Last month, South Korea's trade commission made a preliminary decision to extend the anti-dumping tariffs on steel bars from the three countries.
Seoul and Tokyo, meanwhile, have been at loggerheads at a separate case at the WTO after Japan abruptly imposed export restrictions of key industrial items against South Korea last year, citing security issues.
South Korea reopened its complaint at the WTO earlier this year as Japan has remained unresponsive to Seoul's repeated requests to lift the regulations. In July, the WTO decided to launch a panel to look into the discord.
Japan's export curbs are viewed as retaliation against a South Korean court's ruling that ordered Japanese companies to provide compensation for their wartime slavery of Korean workers.
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