A ranking official from Cheong Wa Dae, The Blue House — the presidential residence and seat of the President of the Republic of South Korea — said Tuesday the country will actively take all possible steps including filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to combat what President Moon Jae-in believes are “unfair” restrictions with regards to Seoul’s exports by the United States, according to a report by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

"Our government will confidently and resolutely deal with any trade issues with our key trading partners, including the United States, in order to ensure our national interest," Hong Jang-pyo, Moon's chief secretary for economic affairs, told a press conference, just a day after the president called Washington’s approach to South Korean trade “unfair trade protectionist measures."

"I want you to confidently and resolutely deal with unfair trade protectionist measures by considering filing a formal complaint with the WTO and reviewing possible violation of the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA), and also actively point out the unfairness of such measures in negotiations to revise the Korea-U.S. FTA…. I urge the government to thoroughly review the possible effect of such measures on exports and come up with comprehensive support measures," Jae-in urged Monday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The seemingly castigating plans announced by the Donald Trump administration sought to impose anti-dumping tariffs of up to 50 percent on goods like washing machines and solar cells, being imported from South Korea.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Commerce proposed imposing tariffs on South Korean steel products.

According to Hong, a WTO dispute settlement process with regards to tariffs on South Korean steel has already been launched by his country.

Hong confirmed bilateral talks between the White House and Cheong Wa Dae regarding the tariffs on washing machines and solar cells are currently ongoing. He stressed that should talks fail, a WTO process for these goods too will be promptly be launched.

Samsung washing machine South Korean giants Samsung and LG are calling out the U.S. government over the latter’s washing machine safeguard measure. Photo: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Long-time allies ever since the U.S. helped establish the modern country, the alliance is one of much significance over many fronts. The recent trade issue raised by the Trump administration has brought with it public concern about damage to this important alliance with the major non-NATO ally.

Hong dismissed such concerns telling reporters: "We understand the purpose of the study by the U.S. commerce department is aimed at limiting steel imports to protect the United States' own steel industry. We believe it was based on U.S. economic interests, rather than political or diplomatic perspectives."

Indicating Seoul was going to help South Korean steel exporters diversify into other global markets, Hong said: "The government will establish a close cooperation system with the related companies and do its utmost to help overcome the current difficulty."

Jae-in on Monday also lamented the fact that General Motors was closing down a factory in the south of Seoul, saying it would hurt that region and asked his administration to take measures to boost economic activity there, Reuters reported.