Hidden Nook

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

EU Threatening Sanctions Against US

[Media Source*]

The EU wants to impose extra duties of 15 percent on U.S. products ranging from paper to textiles and machinery. A statement issued Thursday in Brussels says the 25-nation bloc is acting because the United States has failed to repeal a controversial law called the Byrd Amendment, which allows U.S. companies to receive proceeds from anti-dumping duties the U.S. government levels on their foreign rivals.

The Byrd Amendment was declared illegal three years ago by the World Trade Organization. This seems to be nothing more than a "pet argument" to me, as the real case is over the trade disputes that have been heating up across the Atlantic (most notably about the illegal subsidies that Airbus and Boeing are receiving from their respective governments).

unfortunately, it looks like our Canadian and Japanese friends are arguing for sanctions against the U.S. as well (I guess this is "pick on the U.S. day").

The EU said its new duties would hit U.S. goods including textiles, stationery, sweet corn, and machinery products beginning May 1 and raise nearly $28 million annually.

Canada said it expected to collect about C$14 million ($11.6 million) in revenues from new duties on live swine, cigarettes and some fish that take effect May 1.

U.S. pork producers said the 15-percent duty on live swine exports to Canada likely would put a big dent in sales.

Well, so much for the future of our textile industry. The ironic part is that America seems to be in no hurry to repeal the law as their is a lot of political pressure to keep it in place.

The Bush administration has proposed repealing the Byrd amendment in each of the last three years. But the program remains popular with many lawmakers and there has been little other movement toward taking it off the books.

Byrd and other supporters want the Bush administration to negotiate a deal in world trade talks that would allow the United States to keep the program.

To keep a program that might kill our industries or to repeal a law that protects them (assuming it does that is)? It's a difficult decision either way, but I think the President should stick with his guns and kill the bill. If not then we're going to get killed in fines (which would probably all but end the textile industry) and if we do, then "survival of the fittest" comes into play (which may benefit us in the long run anyway) because simply doing nothing is going to hurt our industry in the short run.

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By Darnell Clayton • 5:32 PM • Email Post • •


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