Mexico to start WTO dispute settlement over US tariffs

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MEXICO CITY: Mexico will start a dispute settlement process at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over US tariffs on steel and aluminium, its economy ministry said on Monday, joining the European Union in seeking WTO involvement against the new measures.

Mexico’s economy ministry, in a statement on Monday, said it believed the US measures, which impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium, violate WTO rules.

“The Mexican government asserts that its actions will continue adhering to the rule of international trade law and will be proportional to the damage that Mexico unfortunately receives,” the statement said.

Mexico previously said it would hit back against the US tariffs with “equivalent” measures, by targeting US farm and industrial products ranging from pork legs and fruit to steel.

Canada and the EU took similar actions, also pledging new tariffs on a range of products.

The European Union on Friday also submitted a request for consultations with the United States on steel and aluminium tariffs, a first step in the WTO dispute settlement process, a WTO official said.

The tariffs are part of US President Donald Trump’s effort to protect US industry from what he described as unfair international competition, and have complicated talks with Mexico and Canada to retool the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).