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November 12, 2018

WTO Will Hear Petition Against U.S. Steel, Aluminum Tariffs

According to an agenda released to the media, the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Nov. 21 will consider requests to launch a dispute investigation into President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum products. The panel will hear petitions from members, including Canada, China, the European Union, and Mexico, who allege the tariffs violate core WTO agreements such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), or GATT, and the WTO Safeguards Agreement.

According to Bloomberg Government (subscription necessary), the WTO is expected to grant the requests because WTO rules prohibit the United States from blocking the establishment of a WTO dispute panel a second time. (The United States already has blocked the petition once.) As Bloomberg Government explains, “The development escalates a brewing fight over one of the most contentious and largely untested areas of the WTO’s rule book — the right of each sovereign nation to invoke national security in imposing tariffs against its trading partners.”