Published: Fri, July 20, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

US challenges China, EU and others at WTO over steel tariffs

US challenges China, EU and others at WTO over steel tariffs

As the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers prepare to meet in Buenos Aires, the United States is likely to face intense questions over its aggressive tariff policies.

Since then, some WTO members have filed trade disputes challenging the USA duties. The growing share of worldwide trade under threat has raised the prospect the escalating trade war could harm the global economy, shrinking investments and undermining supply chains.

China is turning to the World Trade Organization as a way to fight back against the latest tariffs proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Faced with a trade war with the United States, China is now setting up a network of think tanks to better understand its adversary.

Back in Washington, US Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday 16 July at the US Department of Commerce that the Section 232 measures were having a positive effect on US steel sector jobs, suggesting that "American steel is coming back" as a result.

Among the many categories on a list released last week by the United States Trade Representative's Office of $200 billion worth of goods imported from China that the USA is threatening to subject to 10% tariffs is "hats and headgear", including those made from cotton, fur, vegetable fibers or paper yarn. The country imports only about $115.6 billion in US goods yearly, according to data from the Office of the U. S. Trade Representative (USTR). At a time when China is increasingly asserting itself on the worldwide stage, such an agenda is needed now more than ever to defend and uphold multilateralism and rules-based order.

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"The American trade war is not only directed at China but it is affecting the whole world".

Trump used the same provision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year.

From blue jeans to motorbikes and whiskey, the EU's hit-list of products targeted the most emblematic of American exports.

Donald Trump's administration has struck with custom duties the imports of the European Union, threatening to impose customs duties on auto imports from Europe in order to curb it.

United States media reported earlier that sellers of the "Make America Great Again" caps - which are available, among other places, via the United States president's official website - were stockpiling them while they waited for a decision on the tariffs. It is no exaggeration to conclude that trade protectionism threatens developing countries.

Meanwhile talks among the three NAFTA signatories, launched after Trump demanded an overhaul of the "terrible deal", have snagged notably owing to USA demands to increase American content installed in duty-free autos.

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Later, Chinese President Xi Jinping met the European leaders and said the two sides should "join hands to defend multilateralism and a rules-based free-trade system", Chinese state television said.

Japan is another target of Trump's steel tariffs, which Tokyo calls "extremely deplorable".

This article How can China win a trade war?

Beijing said that they are not practicing illegal methods.

However, this standpoint has run into headwinds in recent months, the analysts said.

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