The World Trade Organization has ruled that heavy duties on steel imports imposed by the Bush administration violate global trade rules. Washington immediately said it would appeal, and would keep in place the tariffs that President Bush had justified as necessary to protect domestic steel producers against a flood of cheap imports during a restructuring period. In response, the European Union stepped up plans to impose USD 2.2 billion in retaliatory duties on US imports, ranging from footwear to fruit and vegetables – possibly pricing them out of the market. A three-member panel of trade experts said in a 968-page ruling that the “safeguard” duties of up to 30 percent introduced by the USA last March were out of line with WTO rules. That confirmed an interim ruling issued earlier this year and upheld complaints filed by the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Switzerland, China, New Zealand and Brazil.