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November, 201811:34 PM



Russia challenges Washington at WTO over tariffs

Russia challenges Washington at WTO over tariffs

Russia has started fighting back at the World Trade Organization against steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by the United States, a document circulated to WTO members Monday showed.

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03.07.2018 04:14 PM

Russia has started fighting back at the World Trade Organization against steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by the United States, a document circulated to WTO members Monday showed.

In the document dated June 29, Moscow accused Washington of multiple violations of international trade rules, and formally asked the US for "consultations" over tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium.

"The measures at issue, separately or together, appear to be inconsistent with the obligations of the United States" under a long line of international trade agreements, the text said.

Consultations constitute the first step in a full-blown legal challenge before the global trade body.

The move means Russia has joined other powerful WTO members -- including the European Union, China, India, Mexico and Canada -- in fighting back against President Donald Trump's controversial trade policies.

Marking a departure from a decades-long US-led drive for open and free trade, Trump has justified the steep tariffs with claims that massive flows of imports to the United States threaten national security.

Moscow warned in May that it would retaliate against American products to the tune of nearly $540 million, an amount it said was equivalent to the damage likely to be caused to its domestic industry by the US moves. 

Under WTO rules, if 60 days pass without consultations resolving the dispute, Russia can ask the WTO to set up dispute panel, triggering a long and likely costly legal battle that will almost certainly take years to resolve.

But Trump's moves have also complicated the WTO's dispute process itself. 

His trade envoys have refused to sign off on any new judges to the crucial appellate branch of the Dispute Settlement Body. 

If the blockage cannot resolved, the appellate court may be fully paralysed by the end of next year.
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