Statement from USTR Spokesperson Sam Michel on WTO Panel Ruling: Türkiye – Additional Duties on Certain Products from the United States (DS561)

December 19, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, a WTO panel circulated the final, public report in the challenge brought by the United States against the retaliatory tariffs of Türkiye imposed in response to the U.S. Section 232 national security actions on steel and aluminum.
Statement from USTR Spokesperson Sam Michel:
The United States is pleased with the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel report released today, recognizing that the U.S. Section 232 actions on steel and aluminum are security measures, and that Türkiye violated WTO rules by adopting retaliatory tariffs disguised as safeguard measures.  This report follows the positive outcome in the case against China’s retaliatory tariffs announced in August.
Türkiye’s decision to pursue this dispute highlights the contradiction of both suing the United States in the WTO and at the same time unilaterally retaliating with tariffs.  The panel rightly rejected Türkiye’s argument that the U.S. Section 232 actions are safeguard measures that may be “rebalanced” under WTO rules.
Türkiye’s use of the WTO dispute settlement system to challenge the U.S. Section 232 national security actions undermines the WTO.  The WTO does not have the authority to second-guess a WTO Member’s response to threats to its security, and WTO reform must ensure that issues of national security cannot be reviewed in WTO dispute settlement.  Furthermore, the WTO has proven ineffective at addressing non-market excess capacity from China and others, including Türkiye itself, that is an existential threat to market-oriented steel and aluminum sectors and, through the effects on imports, a threat to U.S. national security, including by eroding U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturing capacity.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to standing up for U.S. workers, and all workers of market-oriented companies and industries, and creating and maintaining a fair, worker-centered trading system.