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Tariffs Headed for WTO Dispute Hearings

Both the United States and opponents of tariffs put in place by President Donald Trump confirmed they want to take their disputes to the World Trade Organization. Those confirmations kickstarted the procedure for the WTO to set up dispute hearings.

China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Russia, and Norway all confirmed that they will take their disputes to adjudication proceedings. The Unites States also confirmed it wants dispute panels set up for trade disagreements with Canada, China, and the EU. Reuters quotes a U.S. trade official as saying, “The United States cannot abide this level of hypocrisy.” That was in response to each challenge to the steel and aluminum tariffs at the center of the trade disputes. Trump first put the tariffs in place by saying they were a national security issue, and as such are exempt from WTO rules.

The other countries don’t agree, calling the tariffs thinly-veiled protectionism that has damaged U.S. rivals globally. They want the U.S. to compensate them for damages and imposed their own tariffs in response. WTO dispute panels are set up to settle disputes as peacefully as possible by encouraging each country to bring their policies in line with WTO rules, rather than litigating.

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