| U.S. President Barack Obama decided not to veto a U.S. International Trade Commission import ban on some Samsung Electronics` older smartphones for infringing Apple patents. Due to the U.S. president`s veto, Samsung can`t sell Galaxy S, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab in the U.S. In August, the U.S. International Trade Commission accepted Apple`s claim that Samsung Electronics infringed on its two standard-essential patents and banned U.S. imports of Samsung Electronics` devices.
Obama`s decision was expected but he will be criticized for having double standards. In August, he had overturned the U.S. trade panel`s June ruling banning imports of some Apple`s devices. It was the first time in 26 years that a U.S. president exercised a veto on a U.S. International Trade Commission`s decision.
Obama`s decision can be seen as siding with an American company over a Korean one, and is a protectionist move that blurs free trade spirit that the U.S. government emphasizes. Business magazine Businessweek said Wednesday that the White House did not give the same benefits it gave to Apple to Samsung, adding that Korea will see this as another evidence of U.S. government`s favoritism.
The sales ban is imposed on Samsung Electronics` older smartphone models and will have limited impact on the Korean maker. U.S. government`s decision could turn out to be injuring its own prestige without being able to give big benefits to U.S. companies. It will serve only to reduce competition and limit choice for the American consumers.
Protectionism, or the number of trade barriers imposed by many countries, is rising amid the global economic slowdown. What happened to Samsung Electronics is a result of this trend. As a small open economy, Korea can`t opt for protectionism mimicking economic powerhouse U.S. The Korean government should strongly demand explanations of unfair acts to the U.S. government and follow-up measures to prevent other such cases from occurring again.