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United States Challenges Five WTO Members Imposing Illegal Tariffs Against U.S. Products

07/16/2018

Retaliatory Tariffs Unfairly Target U.S. Products in Myriad Sectors

Washington, DC – The United States today launched separate disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey, challenging the tariffs each WTO Member imposed in response to President Trump’s actions on trade in aluminum and steel to protect the United States’ national security interests. 

The U.S. steel and aluminum duties imposed by President Trump earlier this year are justified under international agreements the United States and its trading partners have approved.  However, retaliatory duties on U.S. exports imposed by China, the EU, Canada, Mexico and Turkey are completely without justification under international rules.

“The actions taken by the President are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of U.S. law and international trade rules.  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,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “These tariffs appear to breach each WTO Member’s commitments under the WTO Agreement.  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.”

BACKGROUND:

In January 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce issued reports finding that imports of steel and aluminum products threaten to impair our national security.  On March 8, 2018, the President concurred with the Secretary of Commerce’s finding and imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.  The tariffs became effective for some WTO members on March 23, 2018, and for others on June 1, 2018.  In response, these WTO Members have unfairly retaliated against products originating in the United States. 

China

China’s retaliatory tariffs, effective April 2, 2018, impose 15 to 25 percent additional duties on $3.0 billion in U.S. imports (based on 2017 trade values). 

European Union

The EU’s retaliatory tariffs are effective in two tiers.  The first tier, effective June 22, 2018, imposes 10 to 25 percent additional duties on $3.2 billion in U.S. imports (based on 2017 trade values).  Tier 2 is not effective until June 1, 2021.  In tier 2, the EU will be imposing 10 to 50 percent additional duties on $4.2 billion in U.S. imports (based on 2017 trade values).

Turkey

Turkey’s retaliatory tariffs, effective June 21, 2018, impose 4 to 70 percent additional duties on $1.8 billion in U.S. imports (based on 2017 trade values).  

Canada

Canada’s retaliatory tariffs, effective July 1, 2018, impose 10 to 25 percent duties on $12.7 billion in U.S. imports (based on 2017 trade values).

Mexico

Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs went into effect in two tranches, on June 5, 2018 and July 5, 2018.  In total, Mexico is imposing 7 to 25 percent duties on $3.6 billion in U.S. imports (based on 2017 trade values). 

 

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