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

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.


SABIC eyes methanol plant in Russia’s far east

Updated 15 October 2019

SABIC eyes methanol plant in Russia’s far east

  • SABIC has signed an initial agreement with Russian interests to build and operate a methanol plant in the country’s far east
  • The installed capacity of the proposed plant in the Amur Region is expected to be up to two-million tons of methanol

LONDON: SABIC has signed an initial agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and ESN Group, to build and operate a methanol plant in the country’s far east.
The deal was struck on the sidelines of the Russian President’s visit to the Kingdom.
The installed capacity of the proposed plant in the Amur Region is expected to be up to two-million tons of methanol.
“This is an important milestone in our global growth strategy, which is formulated around competitive feedstock and capacity to innovate and plan strategically,” said Yousef Al-Benyan, SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO.
“We plan to maintain our strategic partnership with the Russian market by continuing to focus on meeting customer needs, increasing our key customer base, and growing our commercial operation.”
Riyadh-headquartered SABIC is the region’s biggest petrochemical company with operations worldwide. It has been rapidly expanding its global footprint over the last year as it pushes into new markets and higher value products.