White House again proposes repealing Byrd law

[JURIST] In its annual budget recommendations to Congress, the White House stated Monday that repealing the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act [text], also known as the Byrd amendment, would save an estimated $1.608 billion in the 2006 budget year. The measure gives money collected from anti-dumping duties on imports to the US companies that initially requested the anti-dumping protection, rather than to the US Treasury and US taxpayers, as was the practice prior to the Act. The program has paid out more than $1 billion in subsidies to steel, candle, pasta and other companies over the past four years. The WTO has declared the Byrd amendment to be illegal in 2003. [WTO report, PDF] Japan, Canada, and the EU have threatened trade retaliation [EU press statement] which could cost the US $150 million if it does not repeal the law. The Bush administration has annually proposed repealing the program for the past two years, but has been ignored by Congress. The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) [advocacy group], an independent trade watchdog group, has called the disbursements of Byrd Amendment payouts "corporate welfare at its worst." Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) [official profile], author of the amendment, argues that the law "simply encourages our foreign trading partners to play by the very rules that they negotiated with the United States. If they follow the rules, there is no negative consequence; but if they break the rules, then they must provide a remedy." Reuters has more.

 

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