Mexico to start WTO dispute settlement over U.S. tariffs

FILE PHOTO: A worker inspects wire rod at TIM stainless steel wire factory in Huamantla, in the Mexican state of Tlaxcala October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico will start a dispute settlement process at the World Trade Organization over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, its economy ministry said on Monday, joining the European Union in seeking WTO involvement against the new measures.

Mexico’s economy ministry, in a statement on Monday, said it believed the U.S. measures, which impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, violate WTO rules.

“The Mexican government asserts that its actions will continue adhering to the rule of international trade law and will be proportional to the damage that Mexico unfortunately receives,” the statement said.

Mexico previously said it would hit back against the U.S. tariffs with “equivalent” measures, by targeting U.S. farm and industrial products ranging from pork legs and fruit to steel.

Canada and the EU took similar actions, also pledging new tariffs on a range of products.

The European Union on Friday also submitted a request for consultations with the United States on steel and aluminum tariffs, a first step in the WTO dispute settlement process, a WTO official said.

The tariffs are part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to protect U.S. industry from what he described as unfair international competition, and have complicated talks with Mexico and Canada to retool the North America Free Trade Agreement.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Bill Berkrot