SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) — South Korea faced a record number of import restrictions from trade partners in 2020 amid growing protectionism, a trade body said Thursday.

The country was subject to 228 import regulations from 26 countries as of end-December, up 18 from a year earlier, according to a report from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

It was also the largest-ever number of import restrictions targeting Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Import restrictions cover anti-dumping duties, countervailing tariffs and safeguard measures, including investigations into suspected practices.

Foreign import restrictions have been on a steady rise, with the number rising from 166 in 2015 to 187 in 2017.

Last year, anti-dumping cases amounted to 164, with safeguards and countervailing tariffs coming to 54 and 10, respectively.

By product, import restrictions on steel and metals were the highest at 110, followed by chemicals with 53, and plastic and rubber products with 19. The remainder was in place for textiles, electric goods and electronics, and machinery.

The United States had the most import restrictions on South Korean products with 46. India had the second-most import restrictions with 33, trailed by China with 16, Turkey with 14 and Canada with 13.

In the second half of last year, South Korea was subject to 18 new investigations for import restrictions, according to the report.

The report said South Korea may face more trade barriers and import restrictions this year as countries scramble to take the initiative in the green and digital economy.