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Trade wars: Trump’s national security argument to rock global trading system

March 6, 2018, Borderlex

John Veroneau is quoted in a Borderlex article regarding President Trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. “The systemic concern is that at the WTO, there has been a practice of allowing countries to effectively self-define their own notions of national security and there has been an understandable deference to WTO members on this basis,” says Veroneau. “But now, there will be a growing concern that these Section 232 investigations aren’t really premised upon legitimate national security concerns.” He adds that any WTO challenge of the U.S. duties “will put a panel in a difficult position.” Even with the tradition of deference to governments deciding when national security is at issue, “a panel and the Appellate Body will be concerned about not allowing members simply to wave the national security flag and prevent any scrutiny whatsoever of the measure, even if there is deep concern that perhaps national security concerns were not paramount in the justification.”

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