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US challenges retaliatory tariffs at World Trade Organization

Washington — The US filed dispute settlements against five countries with the World Trade Organization on Monday, alleging their tariffs on US goods violate international agreements.

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The US initiated separate disputes against China, the EU, Canada, Mexico and Turkey. All countries imposed retaliatory measures on US products after US tariffs on steel and aluminum went into effect.

The US imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminum March 23, though Canada, Mexico and the EU were granted exemptions until June 1.

"The actions taken by the president are wholly legitimate and fully justified as a matter of US law and international trade rules," said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a statement.

These countries imposed tariffs that target US metals, agriculture, food and automotive sectors, among others, in response to the steel and aluminum duties. USTR called these measures "completely without justification under international rules."

"Instead of working with us to address a common problem, some of our trading partners have elected to respond with retaliatory tariffs designed to punish American workers, farmers and companies," Lighthizer said. "These tariffs appear to breach each WTO member's commitments under the WTO Agreement."

A number of countries, including Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Russia, and Norway, have filed formal WTO complaints over the US metals tariffs.

--Rebecca Grenham,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,