EU to slap extra 15% duty on range of US goods
BRUSSELS: The European Union plans to slap an extra 15 percent import duty on a range of US goods over Washington’s failure to apply an international trade ruling against an anti-dumping law, the EU executive said on Thursday.
The duty would hit imports including paper, agricultural, textile and machinery products from May 1, and affect slightly less than $28 million in trade, the European Commission said.
“The Commission took this latest step in the dispute over the Byrd Amendment in light of the continuing failure of the United States to bring its legislation in conformity with its international obligations,” it said in a statement.
The level of EU retaliation would be revised annually to adjust to the level of damage caused to EU companies, it said. While the Commission’s plan needed the formal approval of EU ministers, this was expected to be a formality, officials said, adding there were no plans to meet US officials before the additional duty came into force.
Neither was there a meeting planned between EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick — until recently US trade representative — who is scheduled to be in Brussels early next week, they said.
In November, the World Trade Organisation gave approval to the EU, Japan and others to apply an initial $150 million in trade sanctions after Washington failed to conform with a WTO ruling to repeal a subsidy programme for US companies.
Known as the Byrd Amendment, the programme distributes funds raised by anti-dumping duties on imports to the companies that initially requested government anti-dumping protection.
More than $1 billion has been doled out to US ball bearing, steel, seafood, candle and other companies under the Byrd Amendment over the past four years. Canada is expected to announce similar measures against the United States, its top trading partner, later on Thursday.
Mostly textiles: Most of the products to be hit with the EU’s extra duty relate to textiles — trousers and overalls made of synthetic fibres, for example. The only agricultural item is sweetcorn.
Five areas of stationery are also targeted, while in the machinery sector the products listed are crane lorries, along with spectacle frames and mountings. reuters