The United States has launched five separate dispute actions at the World Trade Organization against Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey. The U.S. says these countries wrongly placed tariffs on U.S. products.
The tariffs would involve a combined $28.5 billion worth of U.S. exports. They were ordered in reaction to U.S. tariffs announced in March. However, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says the latest tariffs are illegal under WTO rules.
The Trump administration has said American national security interests justified tariffs it placed on imported aluminum and steel products. It said the tariffs are meant to protect the U.S. steel and aluminum industries from low-cost imports from other countries.
But the administration argues the tariffs put in place by the four countries and the EU are not permitted because they are not based on national security.
Under WTO rules, countries decide what their national security interests are. But the group also dissuades countries from overuse of that justification to avoid abuses.
Lighthizer said, "Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies."
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