America's consuming industries maintain that the "Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act" (the so-called "Byrd Amendment") violates U.S. World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. In addition it will have serious negative repercussions on consuming industries and their workers.
First, the Byrd Amendment amounts to a subsidy to companies that may have no need of the funds. Antidumping and countervailing duties will be distributed to companies that have done nothing more than file petitions or expressed support for them. The provision makes no other more meaningful requirement for receiving the subsidy.
Second, donating antidumping or countervailing duties directly to U.S. producers will discourage foreign suppliers from selling in the U.S. market, hurting consuming industries in the United States. Foreign producers will be faced with two choices: continue to export to the United States and see their U.S. competition supported by duty kickbacks, or stop selling in the United States altogether. The latter scenario, which is not unlikely, hits consuming industries hard. Steel users, farmers, retailers and others lose valuable sources of supply and thus much of their international competitiveness.
Third, Byrd refunds will constitute a remedy beyond a duty that violates the WTO Antidumping and Subsidies Agreements. The WTO permits one remedy - the collection of the duties on imports by Customs. A second remedy, passing those duties on to petitioners, is not permitted.
Fourth, the Byrd Amendment violates U.S. obligations to uphold the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. The duty kickbacks will benefit the specific industries filing petitions, and as such constitutes a subsidy in violation of that Agreement.
Fifth, it is flawed trade policy that exists solely because it was born in secrecy. The Byrd Amendment exists only because it was slipped into an agriculture appropriations bill in the dead of night behind closed doors. The Committees of jurisdiction in both the House and Senate had no opportunity to consider the proposal first. Had they done so, the measure would not have been adopted.
Consuming industries strongly urge repeal of the Byrd Amendment.