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More than 40 countries voice concerns at WTO over US auto tariffs

More than 40 World Trade Organization members including the 28 EU countries, China and Japan expressed concern over potential U.S. tariffs on auto imports, Reuters reported July 3.

WTO members at a meeting of the organization's Council on Trade in Goods cited the potential damage to world markets and the rules-based multilateral trading system that could result from a spiral of retaliation to the levies.

The U.S. has already imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum despite the EU's call for a permanent exemption from the duties. President Donald Trump recently threatened to impose tariffs on European-made cars — a move that automakers believe would harm the U.S. automotive industry.

Countries sharing their concerns and alleging that U.S. tariffs would breach WTO rules included Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Norway, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela.

A U.S. diplomat reportedly said the issue was already a subject of formal process at the WTO, so it did not need to be on the agenda.