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WTO to rule in more spats over US tariffs

AFP  |  Geneva 

The agreed Tuesday to hear complaints from and over and tariffs, bringing the total number of such complaints it is reviewing to nine.

The WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has agreed to establish panels to review US Donald Trump's decision to hit a long line of countries with tariffs of 25 per cent on and 10 per cent on

The DSB accepted Tuesday to create separate panels to hear the complaints by and India, after the two countries filed a second request for their cases to be heard.

The DSB already agreed last month to establish panels to hear disputes brought by the European Union, China, Canada, Mexico, Norway, and

Marking a departure from a decades-long US-led drive for free trade, Trump has justified the steep tariffs with claims that massive flows of imports to the threaten national security.

invoked a rarely used WTO exception that allows a country to take "any action which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests".

The decision to establish the panels follows rounds of failed consultations between the parties and mark an escalation in an ongoing showdown at the WTO around Trump's controversial trade policies.

Under WTO regulations, parties in a dispute can block a first request for the creation of an arbitration panel, but if the parties make a second request, it is all but guaranteed to go through.

on Tuesday blocked a first request from to establish a dispute panel to rule on the legality of retaliatory tariffs imposed by

But the DSB has already agreed to hear US complaints over similar retaliatory duties imposed by Canada, China, the European Union, and on US imports, and should soon agree to hear the US complaint over the Russian tariffs.

Also on Tuesday, blocked a first request from for a panel to hear its complaint over Saudi Arabia's alleged failure to provide adequate protection of the intellectual property rights of Qatari-based entities.

launched the dispute in October, accusing of blocking Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN and of not taking proper action against piracy of beIN's content by a Saudi-based piracy outlet called "beoutQ".

According to a trade official, insisted Tuesday that the severance of diplomatic ties with made it impossible to conduct any dispute settlement in the matter.

Evoking the issue of national security, it insisted that a WTO panel had no power to rule in the matter and could not be turned into a venue to resolve national security disputes.

The US, and came out in support of the Saudi position at Tuesday's meeting of the DSB, while the and spoke up for Qatar's call for a panel, the trade official said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 00:35 IST
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