Association News

WTO Panel Rules Against Section 232 Tariffs

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Domestic steel groups criticized a ruling from the World Trade Organization challenging Section 232 steel tariffs imposed in 2018. The three-person panel ruled the tariffs "contravened global trading rules."

“A WTO dispute panel has once again gone beyond its mandate. Each member of the WTO has the right to determine what action it considers necessary to protect its own national security and [this]panel ruling disregards this central feature of the WTO system,” said Kevin Dempsey, president of the American Iron and Steel Institute. “The tariffs and quotas on steel were instituted by the president following a determination by the Secretary of Commerce that high levels of steel imports and continuing global excess capacity in steel threatened to impair U.S. national security as defined in section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The WTO has no authority to second guess the U.S. government on matters of our national security."

“The United States was right to ensure that we could meet our national security and critical infrastructure needs in steel and aluminum with domestic production. But instead, the WTO is trying to tell America how we can protect ourselves," said Tom Conway, president of United Steelworkers International. “U.S. actions have been effective. Section 232 relief helped to promote production, investment and job creation, while keeping America safe."

The panel's ruling was in response to disputes brought by Norway, China, Switzerland and Turkey following the imposition of Section 232 tariffs by former President Donald Trump.

Adam Hodge, assistant United States Trade Representative, said the Biden administration will not remove the Section 232 duties as a result of the disputes.