Brazil Joins WTO Panel Against U.S. Steel Tariffs

By Agence France-Presse Brazil on July 29 joined a complaint lodged by seven other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) against U.S. tariffs on steel imports, trade sources said. Brazil formally asked the WTO to set up a panel under its disputes settlement procedure to examine the controversial U.S. measures, which Brazil claims are in breach of WTO rules on fair trade. The United States placed tariffs of 8% to 30% on some types of steel imports on March 20. The U.S. said the Brazilian challenge to its "safeguard" measures was regrettable, but added that it would not oppose the establishment of the panel, according to trade sources. Brazil told the WTO that the U.S. measures caused considerable disruption to the world steel market and had a significant impact on its exports, the sources added. The South American trading giant joined China, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland, who have already lodged their formal complaint against the U.S. steel measures. The move effectively marks an end to bilateral consultations between the U.S. and Brazil to try to find another way out of the dispute. On July 29, the WTO named the three panelists who will tackle the high-pressure dispute. The panel, whose deliberations are strictly confidential, will be chaired by Stefan Johannesson of Iceland, with Mohan Kumar of India and Margaret Liang from Singapore as panel members. The procedure can last up to nine months before a ruling, which will be subject to appeal by the parties to a separate appellate body. The U.S. says that its measures on steel are "fully consistent" with WTO rules. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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