Mexico’s government confirmed on Monday that it will begin the dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization in an effort at challenging the tariffs lately enacted on aluminium and steel exports to the United States by the Trump administration.
In a statement, Mexico’s economic ministry justified the action by arguing that the Trump administration’s tariffs violate WTO rules.
“The Mexican government asserts that its actions will continue adhering to the rule of international trade law and will be proportional to the damage that Mexico unfortunately receives.”
With the filing, Mexico joins the European Union in challenging the Trump aluminium tariffs at the WTO. The EU made the announcement of its own challenge to the tariffs last Friday.
In addition to a WTO challenge, Mexico joins the growing throng of countries considering retaliatory tariffs against imported goods from the United States. The Trump aluminium tariffs have also proven to be a stumbling block to ongoing negotiations of the North America Free Trade Agreement, as the move threatens to alienate both Mexico and Canada.
Contentious from the start, the tariffs are the response to a yearlong investigation by the United States Commerce Department under a little-used section of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The investigation into the national security implications of aluminium imports yielded a recommendation for stricter trade barriers to protect domestic producers.
The Trump administration announced blanket 10-percent tariffs on all aluminium imports in March, but relented shortly after with a handful of exceptions, which initially ran through April before the administration granted a one-month reprieve to June 1.