Byrd Dumping Amendment Means Multi-Million Dollar Subsidy for West Virginia Company, Disaster for U.S. Trade Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2000
Contact: Eric Thomas
Washington, D.C.- The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) pointed out today that a highly-questionable amendment sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) has the potential to subsidize a West Virginia steel producer to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The amendment would distribute antidumping and countervailing duties to the U.S. companies that petitioned the government to impose those duties.
"This windfall is just one example of the potential impact of the Byrd amendment," said Jon Jenson, Chairman of CITAC. "If this measure becomes law, it will provide a tremendous financial incentive for all industries to seek dumping duties on imports. This spells disaster for the thousands of U.S. companies that rely on imports."
"The amendment amounts to bad trade policy that would be seen as inconsistent with World Trade Organization rules," added Frank Kittredge, NFTC President. "We are disappointed that Senator Byrd is pursuing a policy that would sacrifice U.S. trade leadership when it is most needed." Kittredge added that the NFTC and its members are also concerned that this controversial trade amendment was not considered under normal congressional procedures.
CITAC and NFTC strongly oppose the Byrd amendment, which was added to the agricultural appropriations bill in a House-Senate conference committee earlier this month. Despite widespread opposition to the provision, the House has already approved the appropriations bill with the Byrd language. The Senate is expected to take up the appropriations bill this week. CITAC and NFTC have said they will work to repeal the amendment next year if it becomes law.
CITAC is a growing coalition of companies and trade associations concerned with keeping channels of trade open so U.S. consuming industries have access to goods under world-competitive conditions. CITAC members include American Institute for International Steel, Consumers for World Trade, International Association of Drilling Contractors, Michelin North America Inc., National Retail Federation, and Precision Metalforming Association.
The National Foreign Trade Council was founded in 1914. Since then, NFTC has been a leading spokesman on behalf of the private sector for an open international trade and investment regime. NFTC's membership consists of 550 U.S. manufacturing corporations, financial institutions and other U.S. firms having substantial international operations or interests.