Did the US House and Senate really think no one would notice that Byrd, while repealed in theory, in practice is still in effect for the next 2 years?
The United States told the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that the amendment, which the Geneva-based WTO has repeatedly condemned, was repealed by Congress last month.
But 12 WTO states, among them Brazil, India, Australia and Mexico, countered that the U.S. move was inadequate because funds will continue to be paid out for years to come.
‘Until such time as disbursements are fully and completely ceased, the United States will remain in violation of its WTO obligations,’ Canada said in a statement.
Last March, the EU slapped an extra 15 percent tariff worth a total $28 million on U.S. goods including paper, agricultural, textile and machinery products, to hit back at Washington for failing to remove the measure.
Canada has imposed extra tariffs on U.S. goods worth $11 million, while those of Japan are the largest at $52 million. The amounts can be revised annually.
Under the disputed U.S. law, named after Senator Robert Byrd, Washington collected duties on imports which it had decided were unfairly priced, or subsidized, and distributed the cash to U.S. competitors of the foreign companies.
Congress struck down the measure last month in a close vote, but only with effect from October 1, 2007.
Over the next 18 months, according to official figures, U.S. firms will receive more than $2 billion under the Byrd amendment, compared with the $1.26 billion paid out since the program began in 2000.
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