The cost of the ‘Byrd amendment’

In Februrary last year, the EU, Japan, Brazil, Australia and a dozen other countries won a WTO dispute with the USA over the amendment—named after the redoutable Sen. Byrd of West Virginia, the Senator for the US steel industry—to the US Anti-Dumping and Countervailing laws. “Here’s(linkto the English language version)”:http://docsonline.wto.org:80/DDFDocuments/t/WT/DS/234-18.doc the report of the WTO Appellate Body on the case (MSWord, about 30k).  The Byrd amendment requires the US government to distribute the revenues from anti-dumping or countervailing duties to the sucessful petitioners in the trade-remedy case. The WTO has ruled that the amendment results in duties that exceed those permitted by the WTO agreements. Now the Congressional Budget Office has detailed the harm that the law does to the US economy bq. The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 can be expected to result in more antidumping and countervailing-duty petitions and more support for those petitions by import-competing industries.  That, in turn, would lead to the initiation of more AD/CVD cases, the imposition of more duties, and greater consequent harm to the economy as a whole. (“Congressional Budget Office(pdf file, about 30k)”:ftp://ftp.cbo.gov/51xx/doc5130/03-02-ThomasLetter.pdf. Thanks to “Ben Muse”:http://www.acsalaska.net/~benmuse/blog/2004_03_01_archive.html#107838114259876499 for the pointer.) The sums are very large: $300 million will be collected in 2004 and the total over the next decade is projected by the CBO to be $3.8 billion.

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