U.S. To Comply With WTO Ruling On Anti-Dumping

By Agence France-Presse The United States said Jan. 16 it would comply with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against a hotly disputed provision in its anti-dumping laws. The WTO appellate body confirmed a finding against the Byrd Amendment, under which U.S. companies are paid some of the anti-dumping duties levied by the government against their foreign competitors. The ruling did not affect the underlying U.S. law against dumping and unfair trade subsidies, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement. "We are, however, disappointed with the appellate body's findings concerning the funds disbursed under the Act," it said. "The United States has been a leader in supporting rules-based dispute settlement in the WTO. Therefore, in this case as in others, the United States will seek to comply with its WTO obligations." The USTR said it would review the WTO findings to assess the best way to comply, and would discuss the options with the key committees in Congress and other interested lawmakers. The dispute followed a complaint by the European Union, Canada and nine other members of the 144-strong WTO. The WTO's appellate body said in a report that it upheld an earlier panel's finding that the U.S. law, enacted in October 2000, was a "non-permissible specific action against dumping or a subsidy." The payments under the U.S. legislation are "inextricably linked to, and strongly correlated with, a determination of dumping or a subsidy," it said. It recommended that the United States be requested to bring the law, officially entitled the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, into conformity with WTO agreements. Washington had appealed the ruling by a three-member expert WTO panel last October. The law is known as the Byrd Amendment, after its sponsor, Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. It allows U.S. officials to redistribute to steel producers, or other companies demanding action, some of the revenues from anti-dumping and countervailing duties that were applied. The original WTO panel had found that the amendment provided help for domestic producers that went beyond the anti-dumping or countervailing duties which already help them against imports, and which was not envisaged by WTO legislation. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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