World Trade Organization (WTO) members have condemned the United States for a series of "abusive" appeals against World Trade Review Commission decisions regarding its import tariffs and mislabeling of origin, urging the United States to honor its commitments as a WTO member and end its unilateral and protectionist action.
At the latest Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting here on Friday, five WTO members - China, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Hong Kong - demanded five decisions from the plenary group regarding duties imposed by the United States on imports of steel and aluminum and the US origin marking requirement applicable to goods manufactured in Hong Kong.
Prior to the meeting, the United States challenged four rulings by the commission regarding duties imposed by Washington on imports of products steel and aluminum from China, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. The world's largest economy also said it would postpone the implementation of the report of the panel of experts on the dispute initiated by the European Union (EU) over US anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of steel olives from Spain.
In March 2018, the United States began to impose section 232 duties on steel and aluminum products to protect its domestic industry under the guise of national security.
From the beginning, the United States has used these additional duties as a tool of economic coercion, using them to force other members into confinement quota arrangements or concessions to the United States in trade talks, the Chinese ambassador said.
There was widespread opposition to the measures, with several WTO members suing and all commissions declaring them incompatible with the WTO.
A panel set up by the WTO in 2018 to resolve complaints filed about tariffs ruled last month that Thu o US tariffs on steel and aluminum are inconsistent with various articles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The experts also determined that these inconsistencies were not justified by the security exceptions provided for in the GATT, since they were not applied in time of war or in cases of serious international tension.
U.S. Ambassador Maria Pagan criticized the decisions during a meeting of the WTO body on Dispute Settlement Board (DSB) on Friday.
“The United States will not cede decisions about its core security to WTO commissions,” she said.
“For more than 70 years, the United States take a clear and unequivocal position that national security issues cannot be considered in dispute resolution at the WTO,” she said.
“The United States cannot support the adoption of these fundamentally erroneous and damaging reports,” she said, announcing the US decision to appeal.