News ID: 109992
Publish Date : 10 December 2022 - 21:50

WTO: Trump’s Steel Tariffs Violated Global Trade Rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization has ruled that former president Donald Trump violated global trade rules in 2018 when he invoked national security concerns to justify his tariffs on steel and aluminum products from around the world.
The Biden administration strongly condemned the decision, which it said was further proof that the WTO dispute settlement system is in need of fundamental reform. It also said it would not remove the duties that Trump imposed.
“The United States strongly rejects the flawed interpretation and conclusions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel reports released today regarding challenges to the United States’ Section 232 measures on steel and aluminum brought by China and others,” USTR spokesperson Adam Hodge said in a statement.
“The United States has held the clear and unequivocal position, for over 70 years, that issues of national security cannot be reviewed in WTO dispute settlement and the WTO has no authority to second-guess the ability of a WTO member to respond to a wide-range of threats to its security,” he added.
The ruling from a group of panels reviewing the case suggests the United States “must stand idly by” while China and other countries flood its market with steel and aluminum that has been produced with generous amounts of government support, Hodge said. “The United States will not cede decision-making over its essential security to WTO panels,” he added.
Four WTO dispute settlement panels, each comprised of the same individuals, issued a ruling in cases brought by China, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Two other challenges brought by Russia and India are still pending.
“I think this ruling sends a shockwave into the system” since there long has been a custom of members to deferring to each other on what constitutes a national security threat, said Wendy Cutler, a former senior U.S. trade official now at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
The United Steelworkers union and the American Iron and Steel Institute, an industry group, also blasted the decision.