WTO receives complaints about US tariffs

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

A heated meeting of the World Trade Organization has seen complaints received about US protectionism.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was asked to review US tariffs imposed on global trade at a meeting in Geneva this week.

Seven nations or blocs, including Canada and the European Union, disputed the levies imposed on foreign steel and other products by America, marking the first time that countries have been able to air their grievances over the tariffs put in place by president Donald Trump.

China in particular insisted that new tariffs on almost half of its exports to the US must be reviewed and insiders at the closed-door meeting suggest discussions became heated.

Meeting documents show that representatives from the US insisted it had 'no choice' in imposing the levies and that it has also asked for reviews of the retaliatory actions of Canada, China, the EU and Mexico.

Usually, complaints have to be registered with the WTO before tariffs are imposed on other members. The WTO then reviews the dispute and decides if tariffs are appropriate.

However, Trump did not consult the WTO before bringing in levies in May. Other countries then also followed suit in failing to meet with the governing body before bringing in their own tit-for-tat tariffs.

This has led to suggestions that the WTO is under stress and no longer relevant in the current economic climate.

The news comes after officials from 13 WTO countries met in Canada recently to reaffirm their commitment to the institution and to come up with new ways to modernize it.

Director-general Roberto Azevedo has also called for renewed support if international trade is to continue unabated, even if reforms and restructuring are required.