The United States on Tuesday launched a broadside against the European Union, China and other countries, saying the retaliatory tariffs imposed by them are "completely without justification”.
Though the US stopped short of criticising India, it took note of the actions by New Delhi to approach the World Trade Organization (WTO) against tariffs US president Donald Trump imposed on some Indian goods.
A bunch of countries such as China, Mexico, Turkey and the European Union have imposed retaliatory duties on US imports.
India last week said its retaliatory tariff on 29 US products will come into effect on August 4 after Trump decided to impose 25 and 15 percent import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
"These retaliatory tariffs underscore the complete hypocrisy that governs so much of the global trading system," the US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
"For months, the EU, China, and others have criticised the trade policy of the United States, while claiming to champion the WTO. But their recent tariffs prove that they simply ignore WTO rules whenever doing so is convenient," he said.Trump also took a dig on India's tariff policy on
Harley-Davidson while slamming the Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker's decision to move some of its production overseas in order to avoid the EU's retaliatory tariffs.
While the USTR statement refrained from making a direct attack on India, it did hint at the country's dismissal of the claim that the US tariffs are “safeguards” under the WTO rules.
India, along with China, Russia, the European Union, and Turkey, requested consultations with the US under the WTO Agreement on Safeguards, the statement read.
In its complaint, India listed a string of ways the US tariffs violated the WTO rules and unfairly damaged India’s interests. Under WTO rules, the US has 60 days to settle the complaint, after which India could ask the WTO to set up an expert panel to adjudicate.
India’s retaliation claim seeks to recoup a cost of $31 million levied on its aluminum exports and $134 million on steel and it has said it could target US exports of soya oil, palmolein and cashew nuts in its retaliation. New Delhi’s legal challenge at the WTO seeks to force the US to scrap the tariffs entirely.
Trump’s has triggered a global trade war by imposing tariffs on imports of several goods to the US as he looks to rewrite global trade rules as part of his “America First” agenda.
Lighthizer said Trump's actions regarding steel and aluminum plainly fall within the legitimate scope of Article XXI.
"Faced with massive excess capacity that puts the very future of our steel and aluminum industries at risk, President Trump took certain measures that he deemed essential to the national security of the United States," he said in a statement.
The USTR sought to justify the measures taken by the US, saying they were implemented only after "long and careful" analysis.
(With inputs from Reuters)