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Russia Says Will Challenge U.S. Steel, Aluminum Tariffs At World Trade Body

Rolled steel is seen at the Severstal-SSC-Vsevolozhsk plant in the Leningrad region.

Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Yevtukhov has said Russia will challenge stiff new tariffs that the United States imposed this week on aluminum and steel imports before the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Yevtukhov told Rossia-24 TV on March 23 that the new tariffs of 25 percent on U.S. steel imports will cause about $2 billion in losses for Russian steel exporters, while the 10 percent tariffs on U.S. aluminum imports will cause $1 billion in losses for Russian aluminum producers.

"Our steelworkers will suffer," he said. "It will be necessary to challenge this measure in the WTO."

"The fact that the U.S. has now introduced duties on steel and aluminum closely concerns Russia and China," Yevtukhov told Rossia-24 TV, adding that Moscow will raise its case before the WTO's dispute-settlement authority and argue that the tariffs violate WTO rules.

Yevtukhov said Russia was also considering direct retaliatory measures against the U.S. tariffs, such as imposing reciprocal tariffs on U.S. goods. "One must look at the response measures, and all countries will do this," he told Rossia-24.

Russia's delegation at the WTO raised concerns about the tariffs at a meeting of the trade body on March 23, Russian state-run news agency TASS reported.

TASS said the Russian delegates demanded an explanation from the U.S. delegation on why the tariffs were imposed selectively, in what they said was an apparent violation of Russia's "most favored nation" trade status in the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who ordered the tariffs to ensure the survival of U.S. steel producers for what he said were "national security" reasons, temporarily suspended the duties for U.S. allies in the European Union, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and elsewhere.

Based on reporting by AP, TASS, and Rossia-24 TV