USA may face retaliation at WTO over steel tariff


Trump announced Thursday the United States would impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum in an effort to revive USA manufacturing.

And UK Prime Minister Theresa May rang Trump on Sunday to express her "deep concern" at the moves to raise import taxes on steel and aluminium.

But the US President defended the proposals to impose duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium as early as next week by tweeting that "trade wars are good, and easy to win".

Ross played down the possible effects of the proposed tariffs on the U.S. economy.

European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker promised to go after imports of Harley-Davidson motorbikes, bourbon whisky and Levi's jeans.

"When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win", Trump said on Twitter on Friday.

But the amounts that they're talking about are also pretty trivial.

The problem with this for the U.S government, according to Peter Navarro - the White House trade official - is that excluding one country will create a slippery slope.

"In Ross" words: "Overall it's not going to be much more than a rounding error". "IF YOU DON'T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON'T HAVE A COUNTRY!" he challenged.

Some of these players are now warning: they may soon start implementing their own safeguards, like Europe did in 2002, after then-U.S. President George W. Bush imposed steep steel tariffs that drove excess metal their way.

Canada has the largest share of steel imports to the USA at 16 percent, according to data from the Department of Commerce, followed by Brazil and South Korea, with steel imports from China down 5 percent in the most recent period. After that, USA administrations imposed protectionist policies, only to see global competitors adapt and the US share of global steel production decline. They say they have been put at a disadvantage against foreign competitors for far too long.

"If policies are made on the basis of mistaken judgments or assumptions, it will damage bilateral relations and bring about consequences that neither country wants to see", he said.

The proposal has raised fears of an global trade war involving China and Europe.

China's Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for China's National People's Congress, said China would take "necessary measures" if its interests were hurt.