World Economy

WTO: Still Time for Discussions

WTO: Still Time for DiscussionsWTO: Still Time for Discussions

World Trade Organization members still have time to discuss the US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports signed by President Donald Trump on Thursday, and it is up to them what happens next, WTO spokesman Dan Pruzin told reporters on Friday.

“Certainly there is still time to discuss this, and there is still time to discuss this within the format of the WTO, in our councils and committees,” Pruzin said, CNBC reported.

“There is an obligation for a member who takes a measure such as a safeguard or an anti-dumping measure or a countervailing measure to notify the organization of that measure. Now we don’t know what the legal basis for the US measure is, so I can’t comment on whether or not they have an obligation to notify the announced measures from Thursday night to the WTO.”

American aluminum producers told Trump in a letter that they are “deeply concerned” about the effect global tariffs would have on their industry, including jobs. They offered alternatives, including targeting China.

“We fear that the proposed tariff may do more harm than good,” the group said in Monday’s letter, which was signed by Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. The group represents 114 producers and other companies, including Alcoa, Vulcan and Rio Tinto Alcan, which collectively employ 713,000 workers in the United States.

They urged the president to look at alternatives to his proposed 10% tariff on aluminum imports, including a levy targeting China’s aluminum industry and an exemption for Canadian, European and other foreign producers.

“Unfortunately, the tariffs proposed will do little to address the fundamental problem of massive aluminum overcapacity in China, while impacting supply chains with vital trading partners who play by the rules,” the letter said.

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