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Several WTO Members Concern about U.S. Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

- Apr 25, 2018 -

Several WTO Members Concern about U.S. Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The safeguard committee of the World Trade Organization’s Council for Commodities Trade met in Geneva on the 23rd. Eight WTO members, including Russia, India, and China, expressed concern about the recent implementation of the steel and aluminum tariff policies of the United States.

The Chinese side stated at the meeting that the practices adopted by the United States in accordance with Section 232 seriously undermine the stability of the multilateral trading system and distort the international supply chain. The follow-up will have a huge negative effect. At the same time, the U.S. decision on customs exemption for some exporters also violated the WTO principle of most-favoured-nation treatment.

Russia, India, Turkey, Venezuela, Norway, Switzerland, and Singapore all also expressed concern about U.S. unilateral practices.

Russia believes that the United States lacks transparency from the previous investigation to the entire process of implementing tariffs. Its actions have not only affected the stability of trade, but also led to the rise of trade barriers, leaving all members in a difficult position.

Turkey stated that the United States' "national security" argument was not valid. The Global Forum on Overcapacity in Steel under the G20 Framework provides a platform for discussing overcapacity issues that should be addressed collaboratively rather than unilaterally.

U.S. President Trump announced on March 8 that due to imports of steel and aluminum products that endanger US "national security," the United States will impose tariffs of 25% and 10% on imported steel and aluminum products, respectively. On March 22, the United States stated that it will temporarily exempt steel and aluminum tariffs from the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea, and the exemption period will end on May 1.

China had submitted a consultation request to the United States under the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism on April 5 and formally initiated the dispute resolution procedure. Subsequently, the EU, Russia, India, and other members also proposed to the United States to negotiate the tariffs for steel and aluminum under the framework of the "Agreement on Safeguard Measures."