WTO says Bush's steel tariff violates trade rules

The World Trade Organization has ruled that heavy duties on steel imports imposed last year by the Bush administration violate global trade rules. A three-member panel of trade experts said that the "safeguard" duties of up to 30% introduced by the United States last March were out of line with WTO rules, Reuters reported. That confirmed an interim ruling issued earlier this year and upheld complaints filed by the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Switzerland, China, New Zealand and Brazil. The United States said it would appeal, and would keep in place the tariffs that President Bush had justified as necessary to protect domestic steel producers against a flood of cheap imports, according to the Associated Press.In response, the European Union stepped up plans to impose $2.2 billion in retaliatory duties on U.S. imports, ranging from footwear to fruit and vegetables.

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