US challenges five WTO members for imposing retaliatory trade tariffs

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Washington, July 17 (IANS) The US on Monday launched a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging five WTO member countries for applying trade tariffs in retaliation for US President Trump’s recent actions on the aluminum and steel trade.

According to a US Department of Commerce statement, the US has launched separate disputes at the WTO against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey, challenging the alleged “illegal” tariffs each of these WTO members imposed in response to President Trump’s actions on trade in aluminum and steel in order to protect US “national security” interests, Efe reported.

“The actions taken by the President are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of US law and international trade rules,” said the statement quoting US secretary of Commerce, Robert Lighthizer.

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In recent months, Donald Trump has increased tensions among traditional US partners and allied trading blocs such as the EU, Canada, and Mexico, with a focus on trade issues.

Last June, the US administration decided to terminate its steel and aluminum tariff waivers on imports from the EU, Canada, and Mexico. Said action was responded with similar retaliatory moves by these WTO members.

Washington’s move on Monday coincided with another formal challenge issued hours before by Beijing against the US, after President Trump decided to impose, earlier this year, $ 200 Billion in additional tariffs on a list of Chinese products.

These new US trade tariffs will be more comprehensive than those already in effect, to the tune of $ 34 Billion, that drove China to issue on July 6 a WTO complaint.

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“The US will take all necessary actions to protect our interests, and we urge our trading partners to work constructively with us on the problems created by massive and persistent excess capacity in the steel and aluminum sectors,” US Secretary of Commerce Lighthizer concluded.

–IANS

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