EU initiates dispute with US at WTO

Geneva,   The European Union (EU) has requested consultations with the US on its steel and aluminium tariffs, under the dispute settlement framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), an official said.

The WTO Secretariat received a request from the EU for consultations with the US “concerning the Section 232 tariffs imposed by the US on steel and aluminium imports”, a WTO official, requesting anonymity, said on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the EU may request adjudication by a panel.

Despite worldwide objection, the US administration decided in March to impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports.

The EU’s move came against the announcement on Thursday by US President Donald Trump not to extend the temporary steel and aluminium tariff exemptions against the EU, Canada, and Mexico.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said this was because negotiations over the past two months have failed to result in a deal.

Regarding the dispute with the United States, the EU says in a document submitted to the WTO that US tariff measures “adversely affect exports of these goods from the European Union to the US.”

The EU said the imposition of the tariffs is “inconsistent with the US’ obligations and rights set out in the WTO Agreement.”