The Byrd comes home to roost – Japan Imposes 15 Pct. Levies on U.S. Steel

We’ve dealt with the Byrd Amendment once or twice before 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – it’s been ruled illegal by the world trade organization upteen times, even Bush, the sometimes-free-trader, wants it repealed, but congress just won’t get behind it.

Well, today you’ve really done it, Ollie!

Japan will slap 15 percent levies on U.S. steel starting Sept. 1 in retaliation for American duties imposed on Japanese products, a trade ministry official said Monday. The tariffs could run to a maximum of 5.7 billion yen, or $51 million, said trade ministry official Etsuo Sato.

Japan has demanded the repeal of duties imposed by the United States on Japanese steel products under the so-called Byrd amendment, an antidumping law ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization.

By the way, I had to laugh… If you stick Byrd into Google, one of the first sites to come up is the publicity site for the senator, which says, amusingly,

Official site for the “West Virginian of the 20th Century,” featuring news, contact details, and constitutent services, plus information about the Senator

Maybe he doesn’t know it’s the 21st century yet.

I love this too … (from

On October 28, 2000, President Clinton signed the agriculture spending bill, containing the Byrd amendment, into law. Mr. Clinton indicated that he wanted Congress to override the Byrd amendment, saying, “I call on the Congress to override this provision, or amend it to be acceptable, before they adjourn.” But Congress did not take action.

Here is the actual quote (it’s near the end).

Here’s how CAGW (Citizens Against Government Waste) summarized the situation:

The Byrd provision penalizes steel-using industries, such as automobile manufacturers, that depend on more competitively priced steel imports and employ many more workers than the steel industry. Further, thanks to higher costs, consumers will pay more for cars, airplane tickets, and household appliances. This double whammy seems particularly unfair in light of the fact that subsidies for the big steel industry are already costing U.S. taxpayers and consumers more than $3 billion annually.

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