WTO speeds ruling on steel

The World Trade Organization (WTO) will adopt a ruling against US steel tariffs on 1 December, moving up by more than a week the timeline for other countries to retaliate and adding pressure for a quick decision by the Bush administration. US voters in major industries and in electorally important states will be affected by the president’s final decision. The WTO earlier this month ruled against the tariffs, imposed by President Bush in March 2002, but was not expected to formally adopt its findings until 10 December. Instead, the trade body plans to formalise the decision Monday. That opens the way for the 15-nation European Union, Japan, China and other nations to retaliate with about USD 3 billion in sanctions as soon as next week. The European Union and Norway confirmed they would slap US products with tariffs five days after the WTO move, and Japan and China are preparing to follow suit.

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