A U.S. federal court ruled that the Bush administration erred in how it applied the so-called Byrd amendment to Canada and Mexico.
“Customs has violated U.S. law,” Judge Donald Pogue said in a 117-page decision released today. It “is not authorized to apply the Byrd amendment to goods from Canada or Mexico.”
Under the U.S. law that implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement, any trade measure that targets imports must specifically mention Canada and Mexico in order to be legally valid for those nations. When Congress enacted the Byrd amendment in 2000, it didn’t do that.
The court decision today applies to trade remedies that the U.S. has against Mexico and Canada, including steel wire, stainless steel, magnesium, wheat and lumber. In the last fiscal year the U.S. distributed to U.S. companies $5.8 million to U.S. companies from duties collected from Canada and $8.4 million collected on Mexican imports, according to U.S. Customs data.
Those amounts are dwarfed by the potential payouts over lumber
… which amount to $4billion