Friday, November 26, 2004

WTO authorizes sanctions against US concerning Byrd Amendment on dumping

On November 26, 2004, the WTO authorized stiff sanctions against the US concerning the Byrd Amendment, which US law allows American companies to receive proceeds from duties levied on foreign rivals for alleged "dumping" —selling goods at below-market prices, making it difficult for American producers to compete against their foreign competitors.

The WTO agreed with assertions that the Byrd Amendment breaks trade laws by punishing exporters to the United States twice: first the foreign competitors are fined in the form of the duties, and second, that money is passed on to their U.S. counterparts.

The value of the sanctions has yet to be determined, but trade officials have said they could amount to more than $150 million a year — a tiny sum in comparison with the $2 billion in sanctions the EU threatened in its successful bid to force the United States to lift illegal tariffs on foreign steel last year.

In August 2004, a WTO arbitrator approved penalties of up to 72 percent of the money collected from foreign exporters and handed to American companies and said the winners in the case should submit lists of potential targets. Under WTO rules, however, formal authorization must come from the dispute settlement body.


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