ACCOUNT PROFILE

WTO delays ruling on U.S. metal tariffs to second half of 2021

Posted on 09 February 2021

The World Trade Organization hasdelayed until at least the second half of 2021 its ruling onmetal tariffs imposed by the United States, giving President JoeBiden more time if he wishes to settle the disputes.

The WTO panel handling challenges brought by China, theEuropean Union, India, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Turkeyhad previously said its final report would not be before autumn2020, implying it would come after the U.S. presidential vote.

The three-person panel said in a filing on Monday that thereport would now come no earlier than the second half of thisyear. It said the delay was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. administration of former President Donald Trump setduties in 2018 of 25% on incoming steel and 10% on aluminiumunder a 1962 U.S. law that allows the president to restrictimports on grounds of national security.

The measures spurred nine complaints to the WTO fromsteel-exporting countries. Canada and Mexico have sinceterminated their cases after agreeing an updated free trade pactwith the United States.

The case hinges on the exemption from global trade rules theWTO allows in cases of national security.

The central U.S. argument is that national security is forcountries themselves to judge and certainly not something to beassessed by a three-person WTO panel in Geneva.

The EU argued at the WTO in November 2019 that the tariffswere not protecting U.S. security, but designed instead to “makeAmerica rich again”.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop;Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Source : Reuters