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U.S., EU Continue War Of Words Over Steel Tariffs

By John S. McClenahen Even as President Bush and leaders of the 15-nation European Union (EU) are meeting to discuss trade and other bilateral issues, the transatlantic war of words over U.S. tariffs on steel imports continues. In the latest public salvo, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick is claiming that any immediate unilateral retaliation by the EU or Japan against the U.S. "safeguard" action would be unprecedented "A review of 32 WTO [World Trade Organization] safeguard cases over eight years shows only one example of a country unilaterally retaliating against a safeguard measure that a WTO member imposed prior to a WTO ruling," says Zoellick's office. "That retaliation," it adds, "by Poland against Slovakia's safeguard on imported sugar, prompted such widespread criticism among WTO members that Poland quickly withdrew its retaliation."

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