US asks for WTO panel over metals tariff retaliation

WASHINGTON/OSLO: The United States is requesting that a World Trade Organization dispute resolution panel get involved in a clash over international retaliation over US tariffs on steel and aluminium, according to a US official familiar with the matter.
The requests, filed on Thursday, cover tariffs by China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico, which followed the United States imposing a 25 per cent duty on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports, which it justified on national security grounds.
Canada, Mexico and China had also planned to ask for a WTO panel examining those tariffs, according to another government official familiar with the matter. Earlier on Thursday, Norway said that it, the EU and other countries would seek the WTO dispute group’s help. China has filed a request with the WTO to establish an expert group to determine the legality of the tariffs, its commerce ministry said late on Thursday.
In a statement posted on its website, the ministry said the US decision to adjust the tariffs was an act of protectionism that seriously undermined multinational trade rules.
It said consultations with the United States under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism had failed to resolve China’s concerns, prompting it to ask for the expert group to be established.
Officials representing the other countries’ trade delegations could not immediately be reached after normal business hours. The WTO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The dispute marks a new dimension to the ongoing skirmish between the United States and a number of its trading partners. The WTO is presiding over a record number of disputes, many of them triggered by Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium and his trade war with China.
Norway earlier said initial consultations with the United States had not led to an agreeable solution, and therefore the Nordic country had joined others in asking the WTO to set up the panel to obtain an independent assessment of the matter.
— Reuters