“Full victory” in WTO for the EU over US steel tariffs

On 11 July, a WTO panel ruled in favour of the EU and other countries that had requested an investigation into the legitimacy of US safeguard measures on imported steel. The US is expected to appeal.

The WTO ruled in favour of the EC, Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand and Brazil, which countries had complained at the multilateral trade body over increased US tariffs on steel products. The US imposed additional tariffs up to 30 per cent in March 2002, to protect its ailing steel industry from imports.

The EU has already put together a list of US products, totalling 2.6 billion US dollars, which it would sanction in retaliation. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, however, remained confident the US would eventually comply with the WTO's demands - making sanctions unneccesary.

The US has signalled its intention to appeal arguing that "the WTO agreement allows such temporary safeguard duties to protect an industry from a surge of fairly traded imports". US Trade Representative Spokesman Richard Mills said the steel safeguard measures would remain in place in the meantime. This may delay the resolution of the dispute until the end of 2003.

 

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