On July 9, 2018, Switzerland requested consultations with the United States concerning certain duties that the United States imposed on imports of steel and aluminum products.
Switzerland claimed in its request for consultations that the measures appear to be inconsistent with:
• Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7, 11.1(a), 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3 of the Safeguards Agreement;
• Articles I:1, II:1(a) and (b), X:3(a), XI:1, XIX:1(a), and XIX:2 of the GATT 1994; and
• Article XVI:4 of the WTO Agreement.
On July 19, 2018, the United States requested the DSB Chair to circulate to Members a communication in which the United States indicated that, among other things, without prejudice to the U.S. view that the tariffs imposed pursuant to Section 232 are issues of national security not susceptible to review or capable of resolution by WTO dispute settlement, and that the consultations provision in the Agreement on Safeguards is not applicable, the United States accepted the request of Switzerland to enter into consultations.
On November 8, 2018, Switzerland requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on November 21, 2018, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on December 4, 2018, the DSB established a panel. Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, the EU, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, and Venezuela reserved their third-party rights.
On January 7, 2019, Switzerland requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On January 25, 2019, the Director-General composed the panel.