Switzerland’s Ministry of the Economy has filed a formal complaint against US tariffs imposed on aluminum and steel at the World Trade Organization (WTO), becoming the eighth member of the body to file such an objection.
“From Switzerland’s point of view, the additional duties, which according to the US have been introduced to protect national security, are unjustified,” said a statement issue by the ministry on Tuesday.
Switzerland had on Monday “submitted a request for consultations with the US as part of WTO dispute settlement proceedings,” the statement said, adding that the country had exported steel and aluminum products to the US last year to the tune of nearly 80 million Swiss francs (80.7 million dollars).
“The US has not responded to Switzerland’s request for an exemption from the tariffs to date,” the statement said, adding that the request for WTO consultations had been launched “in order to protect Switzerland’s interests.”
The ministry, however, did not mention potential retaliation, though other nations that have launched WTO challenges have warned they would impose matching tariffs on American products.
According to the report, Washington has 60 days to resolve the dispute under WTO guidelines, after which Bern could further challenge the US by calling on the international body to establish a panel of judges to arbitrate the case.
The development came a week after major US trading partners — including the European Union (EU), China, and Japan — voiced profound concerns at the WTO about potential trading measures by Washington in imposing additional duties on imported automobiles and parts.