W.T.O. Rules Against U.S. On Steel Tariff
In its second major ruling against the United States in the past year, the World Trade Organization held that tariffs imposed on steel imports by President Bush are not a permissible response to a surge in imports (see WIT for March 5, 2002), but rather illegal protectionist trade restrictions. The interim decision extends what was already a seven-case losing streak for the US on similar industry assistance measures, and will allow other countries to respond with trade restrictions of a similar degree if the final report released next month upholds the verdict as expected. While the ruling has been criticized by both the Bush administration and Democratic lawmakers---who along with some labor leaders had called for even larger tariffs---as jeopardizing a nascent recovery in the US steel industry, the form of that recovery has also come under fire (see WIT for Feb. 18, 2003).