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.