US Steel Decision Damaging
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) will ultimately determine whether the US President’s decision to impose safeguard duties on steel is legal.
Mr Jacobi said that New Zealand and other affected governments would need to examine whether the President’s decision was justified under WTO rules.
“Safeguards are permitted under the WTO but there are rules and processes to follow. Our lamb dispute with the US showed that even when large and powerful trading partners act illegally their decisions can be overturned.”
Mr Jacobi suggested the President’s decision could be explained by the need to appease protectionist elements in the US Congress. “It also gives comfort to similar minded groups here in New Zealand, who think we should abandon further trade reform and close our own market to imports.”
Mr Jacobi said the US decision would penalise New Zealand workers at Glenbrook and stood in contrast to US support for the cause of freer and fairer trade around the world.