Icy road ahead for US-EU Trade

The United States has urged EU member states to pause and reflect on whether it is in their best

interest to retaliate over US metals tariffs. US Ambassador Dennis Shea expressed Washington’s

“deep disappointment” with the EU’s position at the WTO’s latest monthly dispute settlement

meeting. Import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium have raised an outcry

in Europe. Russia, China, Norway and Turkey have all called for the WTO to weigh in on the

legal issues involved.

Trump has been trying to get around the WTO’s jurisdiction by playing the national security

card. Experts warn that that could cause a domino effect, to the detriment of all. It appears Mr.

Shea isn’t having any of it, if you read his recent statement: “The United States wishes to be

clear: if the WTO were to undertake to review an invocation of the national security exemption,

this would undermine the legitimacy of the WTO’s dispute settlement system and even the

viability of the WTO as a whole.”

Trump seems to be frozen in a 1950s-time warp, with his mercantilist view that sees trade as a

zero-sum game. By attempting to throw out the multi-lateral rulebook, he’s going off-road. Will

the EU follow, or try to lead him back to a more familiar path? All signs point to more tense

quarreling between the two sides in the meantime.

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