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Switzerland challenges American steel tariffs at WTO

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posted onJuly 10, 2018

Switzerland has joined a string of countries including China, Russia, Canada, Mexico, India and Norway launching challenges to US new steel and aluminium tariffs at the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

Switzerland, where the organisation is based, had on Monday "submitted a request for consultations with the US as part of WTO dispute settlement proceedings," the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said in a statement.

"From Switzerland's point of view, the additional duties, which according to the U.S. have been introduced to protect national security, are unjustified” SECO said, pointing out that the United States has not responded to a Swiss request for an exemption from the tariffs to date. 

SECO also pointed out that Swiss steel and aluminum exports to the US in 2017 amounted to 80 million Swiss francs. 

Under WTO rules, the United States has 60 days to settle the issue. After that time, Switzerland could can ask the organisation to set up dispute panel, triggering a long and likely costly legal battle. 

The US so far has not reacted to Switzerland’s request,  SECO wrote. 

In 2002, Switzerland, together with other WTO member states, had successfully brought a steel industry case against the US. 

UK PM appoints Jeremy Hunt as new foreign secretary 

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt (pictured) has been appointed as the UK's new foreign secretary after Boris Johnson resigned earlier on Monday in protest at Theresa May‘s Brexit policy. 

Meanwhile, Matt Hancock, the culture, media and sport secretary, will take the position of health secretary vacated by Hunt. 

In a statement, Downing Street said: “The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.”

Hunt took to Twitter to announce the news: “Huge honour to be appointed foreign secretary at this critical moment in our country’s history. Time to back our PM to get a great Brexit deal – it’s now or never”.

Hunt held the post of health secretary for a record six years, He was previously the culture secretary between 2010 and 2012, in the build up to the London Olympics. 

Theresa May’s Government was plunged into chaos on Monday following the resignations of Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis.

Former housing minister Dominic Raab will replace Davis at the head of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DexEU).

With reporting by news agencies

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