EU Postpones Sanctions Against U.S. For Steel Tariffs

By Agence France-Presse European foreign affairs ministers formally endorsed July 22 a decision to postpone until the end of September the possible application of sanctions against the United States in a conflict over U.S. steel tariffs, a European official said. On July 19 EU diplomats agreed in principle on the postponement when the European Commission recommended a delay after Washington offered new concessions on EU steel imports. The European Union postponed until Sept. 30 a decision to apply sanctions which would have included a surtax of 100% on a list of U.S. products. The Commission said the postponement was justified by the "last minute" exemptions granted by the United States but warned "further U.S. steps are necessary." The move is the second time the European Union has postponed its decision to retaliate against temporary U.S. tariffs of up to 30% on some steel imports with sanctions. The European Union had already postponed the application of sanctions until July 19, awaiting exemptions for EU steel-makers. The EU has threatened retaliation of up to $380 million to protest against Bush's decision in March to impose three-year tariffs on selected steel imports. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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