WTO agrees to establish dispute panels to probe tariffs
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has agreed to establish dispute settlement panels (DSP) to hear complaints from a number of countries over new US steel and aluminium tariffs, as well as those from Washington over retaliatory duties.
The WTO Disputes Settlement Body agreed to establishing the panels on Wednesday (21 November). These will rule on whether retaliatory duties imposed by Canada, China, the European Union (EU), and Mexico break WTO rules. These duties include US-made clothing, textiles and textile inputs. The retaliatory duties were made in response to President Donald Trump's decision to hit a number of countries with tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium.
The President maintains the tariffs are justified over national security concerns. He has also imposed tariffs on Chinese goods over accusations of stealing US intellectual property.
The DBS has agreed to establish seven panels, with more than 20 WTO members reserving their third-party rights to participate in each of the respective hearings. There was a request for a single panel to review all complaints but the US said it would not agree.
The DSB additionally agreed to a request from the US for a panel to examine Chinese measures, which the US said discriminate against foreign intellectual property rights holders in China.
The decision to establish the panels follows rounds of failed consultations between the parties.