US tariffs trigger WTO spat escalation

Washington is meanwhile calling the WTO to investigate a number of retaliatory duties imposed by a range of countries. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2018
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US tariffs trigger WTO spat escalation

GENEVA: China, Russia and the European Union are among a string of countries asking the World Trade Organization to probe new US steel and aluminum tariffs, the world trade body said Friday.
Washington is meanwhile calling the WTO to investigate a number of retaliatory duties imposed by a range of countries, the agenda for the next meeting of the organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) showed.
The agenda for the DSB meeting set to be held on October 29 shows that the EU, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Norway and Turkey plan to ask for the creation of a panel of experts to review US President Donald Trump’s decision to hit them with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
Marking a departure from a decades-long US-led drive for free trade, Trump has justified the steep tariffs with claims that massive flows of imports to the United States threaten national security.
The tariff spat has escalated into an all-out trade war between the US and China and growing trade tensions between Washington and many of its traditional allies.
The US is meanwhile planning to request that the DSB create another set of expert panels to review the legality of retaliatory tariffs imposed by China, Canada, the EU and Mexico.
The requests, which follow rounds of failed consultations, mark and escalation in an ongoing showdown at the WTO around Trump’s controversial trade policies.
Under WTO regulations, parties in a dispute can block a first request for the creation of an arbitration panel, but if the parties make a second request, it is all but guaranteed to go through.
“Once the panel is established and composed, the EU is ready to demonstrate that the United States’ import duties are WTO-inconsistent and to obtain a ruling that condemns the US and brings relief to the EU industry,” an EU Commission spokesperson said.
The creation of a DSB panel usually triggers a long and often costly legal battle that sometimes takes years to resolve.


Samsung may gain from Huawei’s plight in ongoing trade war: Fitch

Updated 23 min 38 sec ago
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Samsung may gain from Huawei’s plight in ongoing trade war: Fitch

  • The loss of access to Google’s android system may hurt the smartphone sales of Huawei outside China
  • The ratings agency also added that iPhone maker Apple could be another casualty of the trade tensions

Samsung may have a chance to strengthen its position in the smartphone market due to the hurt caused to Huawei Technologies in the wake of US-China trade tensions, according to Fitch Ratings.
Tech companies, including Google and SoftBank Group-owned chip designer ARM, have said they will cease supplies and updates to Huawei.
The loss of access to Google’s android system may hurt the smartphone sales of the Chinese technology company outside China, thereby giving Samsung a chance to improve its market share, Fitch Ratings said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the US government hit Huawei with severe sanctions as the US Commerce Department blocked the Chinese company from buying American goods amid its escalating trade spat with China.
The ratings agency also added that iPhone maker Apple could be another casualty of the trade tensions between Beijing and Washington, which would accelerate its market share loss in China.