Time for John Quiggan to retract his silly prediction[⇒ related story] that the WTO ruling against the Bush safeguard measures would be the ‘end of the line’ for the global treaty. This is another victory for the multilateral system in the management of trade disputes. But, of course, it’s not the end of US steel protection. The “NY Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/04/national/04WIRE-NEWS.html?ex=1071205200&en=ac7a7c9c3045071a&ei=5040 notes that the US will continue harrassment action that may fall short of a breach of WTO obligations. bq. To ease the impact, Bush announced he was continuing early reporting requirements that had been imposed when the tariffs were levied in 2002 to detect any big influx of steel into the United States. bq. The reporting program requires steel importers to apply for import licenses, giving the government a quicker way to detect possible import surges than waiting for Customs Service data when the steel arrives at U.S. ports. The administration also pledged aggressive use of U.S. antidumping laws should imports surge once the tariffs are lifted, and to continue pursuing global negotiations aimed at reducing subsidies. Watch, however, how many news outlets—unable even to read a press release—are reporting the Bush decision as if it were the lifting of all US steel tariffs.
Peter Gallagher is a leading Australian consultant on trade and public policy.[bio].
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