Japan, Russia and Turkey have warned the United States about potential retaliation for its tariffs on steel and aluminium, the World Trade Organization said on Tuesday, bringing the total US tariff bill to around $3.5-billion annually.
The three countries detailed their compensation claims in notifications to the world trade body, following similar moves by the European Union, India and China. Each showed how much the disputed US tariffs would add to the cost of steel and aluminium exports to the United States, based on 2017 trade.
Russia said the US tariffs, which President Donald Trump imposed in March, would add duties of $538-million to its annual steel and aluminium exports. Japan put the sum at $440-million. Turkey added a further $267-million.
China, the 28-nation EU and India have put their claims at $612-million, $1.6-billion and $165-million respectively.
They all reject the US view that the import tariffs -- 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium -- are justified by US national security concerns and are therefore exempt from the WTO rules.
They say the US tariffs have all the hallmarks of "safeguards", a trade restriction that can be legitimately used to protect a struggling industry from an unforeseen surge in imports.
A country using safeguards must compensate other WTO members who stand to lose out from the restriction on their trade, normally by rebalancing their trading relationship with a net increase in imports of other goods.
But the United States denies its tariffs are safeguards and has offered no compensation, prompting the retaliatory action.
The compensation would normally take years, but because the US steel and aluminium sectors were not facing an absolute increase in imports, the WTO rules permitted retaliation in just 30 days' time, they said.
Japan said it was free to impose at least $264-million of its retaliation after 30 days, suggesting that the rest might be delayed, since some of the US products covered by the tariffs were subject to an absolute increase in imports from Japan.
Neither Russia nor Japan specified how they might retaliate against US exports, but Turkey listed 22 US goods that it was planning to target, ranging from nuts, rice and tobacco to cars and steel products.