Exclusive report: the United States requires WTO to set up a group on metal tariff retaliation.


Thursday’s request covers tariffs on China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico, after the United States imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports for national security reasons.
Canada, Mexico and China also planned to ask the WTO to set up a panel to review these tariffs, another government official familiar with the matter said. Earlier Thursday, Norway said the European Union and other countries would seek help from the WTO dispute group.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said late Thursday that it had requested the WTO to set up a panel of experts to determine the legality of tariffs.
In a statement posted on its website, the Commerce Department said the U.S. decision to adjust tariffs was a protectionist act that seriously undermined cross-border trade rules.
It said that consultations with the United States under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism failed to address China’s concerns, prompting it to call for the establishment of a panel of experts.
After the normal business hours, officials representing other countries’ trade delegations could not be immediately contacted. WTO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The dispute marks a new level of ongoing conflict between the United States and some of its trading partners, as well as the WTO, which has blocked the appointment of new judges. The WTO has hosted a record number of disputes, many of which were triggered by Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and his trade war with China.
Norway said earlier that preliminary consultations with the United States had not reached an acceptable solution, so the Nordic countries joined other countries in calling for the WTO to set up the panel to obtain an independent assessment of the issue.

In a statement, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said: “We believe that the additional tariffs imposed by the United States on steel and aluminum are in violation of WTO regulations.”
“So today, together with the European Union and several other countries, we are asking the WTO to set up a dispute settlement panel on additional US tariffs,” she said.
Meanwhile, the European Union, Norway and Switzerland sought Asia’s support for free trade, Iran’s nuclear deal and global warming at a regional summit in Brussels, with China, Japan and Russia as a counterbalance to a more protectionist America.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC Wednesday that trade talks with China appear to have been suspended for some time and he lowered expectations of an agreement between the two countries at the upcoming G20 meeting.
Mexico and Canada still have to pay metal tariffs, despite an agreement with Washington to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
On Tuesday, EU Trade Minister Cecilia Malmstrom held talks with Ross in Brussels on improving trade relations, although Washington accused the EU of making too slow progress in negotiations.


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