US files trade cases at WTO against five trading partners

The United States on Monday launched five separate trade disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging trade partners’ retaliatory tariffs.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. is filing cases against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey after each imposed new tariffs on U.S. exports in response to President Trump slapping steep tariffs on aluminum and steel over national security interests.


“The actions taken by the president are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of U.S. law and international trade rules,” Lighthizer said in a statement.

“Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies,” he said.

Lighthizer said that the retaliatory tariffs “appear to breach” WTO rules.

“The United States 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.”

In March, Trump hit steel imports with a 25 percent tariff and imposed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum coming into the United States.

U.S. trading partners then responded by levying billions in tariffs on a variety of U.S. goods.

In early April, China imposed 15–25 percent additional duties on $3 billion in U.S. goods.

On June 21, Turkey imposed additional tariffs on $1.8 billion in U.S. products.

The EU, Canada and Mexico were initially exempted from the tariffs, but Trump lifted that waiver at the end of May, leading the 28-nation European bloc and the two partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement to move forward on their promises to respond.

Canada, one of the largest trading partners of the United States, made the biggest move, imposing 10–25 percent duties on $12.7 billion on U.S. goods.

Mexico implemented two sets of tariffs in early June and July, imposing 7–25 percent duties on $3.6 billion in U.S. goods.

The EU first applied 10–25 percent additional duties on $3.2 billion in U.S. goods at the end of June.

The second batch of tariffs, which aren’t set to take effect until June 1, 2021, would hit the U.S. with 10–50 percent in additional duties on $4.2 billion in U.S. goods.

Tags Donald Trump Robert Lighthizer Tariff Trump tariffs

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