WTO Tries to Cope With Global Trade Tension
Disputes over US tariffs and retaliatory moves by other states have sparked 12 requests for adjudication at the World Trade Organization. China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Russia and Turkey have all requested that the WTO set up a panel of adjudicators to judge the legality of steel and aluminum tariffs which US President Donald Trump imposed in March.
In its turn, the United States has asked the WTO to adjudicate on tariffs imposed by Canada, China, Mexico and the European Union in response to those US steel and aluminum tariffs. The US has also asked for adjudication in a separate case against China. Washington wants to impose tariffs on Beijing for its alleged failure to protect US intellectual property rights.
The global trade dispute puts the WTO in a difficult position: If it rules in support of the US it could encourage other members to enact protectionist measures under the guise of national security. If it rules against the US it could draw further ire from the largest economy in the world and a possible withdrawal by the Trump administration.