The European Union (EU) has initiated a complaint process at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States over its steel and aluminum tariffs, joining others targeted by the global trade war launched by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

The Geneva-based WTO is the internationally-renowned legal arbitrator of trade disputes between countries.

The EU on Friday submitted to WTO its formal request for consultations with the US to resolve its dispute on the tariffs announced by Washington.

“The WTO Secretariat has received the EU request for dispute settlement consultations on the US Section 232 measures,” media quoted a WTO official as saying.

Trump slapped duties of 25 percent on imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum to deliver on his election campaign “America First” promises.

Trump told the EU, Canada and Mexico to bring down their trade surpluses, while hitting them with the tariffs.

The EU, in response, launched legal proceedings against China over intellectual property theft, in an effort to not single out the US, the EU said.

Meantime, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom advised all countries to abide by laws and trade regulations.

“If players in the world don’t stick to the rule book, the system might collapse. That is why we are challenging the US and China at the WTO,” Malmstrom told a news briefing in Brussels.

In a retaliatory move, the EU is preparing a list of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of US goods imported in the EU.

French President Macron described Washington’s move as “a mistake in many ways because it responds to existing international imbalances in the worst way, by breaking up and creating economic nationalism.” “And nationalism is war,” Macron warned.

 

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