CITAC: SNOWE “BYRD AMENDMENT” BILL
Washington, DC Members of the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) praised the leadership of Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and two co-sponsors, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator C. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), for introducing a Senate bill today that would transfer funds collected from the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA), known informally as the “Byrd Amendment,” from U.S. companies who file trade cases to needy U.S. communities.
Called the “Trade Readjustment and Development Enhancement for America’s Communities Act of 2003” the bill essentially stops the transfer of Byrd amendment funds to U.S. companies that file antidumping and countervailing duty cases. The funds instead would be transferred to communities negatively impacted by trade liberalization for infrastructure and other development projects.
In a released statement, Senator Snowe pointed out that, “My legislation will also bring the United States in compliance with its international obligations by targeting funds to the communities, rather than a corporation.”
“Senator Snowe and her co-sponsors have proposed positive legislation that helps communities and lessens the damage caused to domestic consuming industries that need access to imports,” said Janet Kopenhaver, Executive Director of CITAC’s newly established CDSOA Reform Coalition. The group is composed of diverse consuming industry sectors such as seafood, steel, candles, and restaurants that have charged the Byrd Act with distorting trade, harming consumers and violating international obligations.
Continued Kopenhaver, “Companies that file trade cases year after year receive large sums of money at the expense of their customers — there shouldn’t be such an incentive for petitioning the U.S. government. We are pleased that this bill works to break the link and end disbursements to specific companies beginning this October.”
In 2001, over $231 million was distributed to U.S companies who filed trade cases by the U.S. Government, in 2002, the number increased to nearly $330 million. The Bush Administration asked Congress to repeal the law after the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body declared it illegal in January 2003.
Bob Baur, Association of Food Industries President and CDSOA Reform Coalition Chairman stated, “The Snowe bill solves the WTO dispute on the Byrd Amendment very quickly. By transferring monies to communities versus individual companies, the bill lessens the incentive for companies to launch unnecessary trade cases since they will no longer gain a big piece of the payments for themselves.”
CITAC is a coalition of companies and organizations committed to promoting a trade arena where U.S. consuming industries have access to global markets for imports that enhance the international competitiveness of American firms. The CITAC Steel Task Force is comprised of steel consumers working to achieve the termination of the 201 steel tariffs by mid-point review and reform U.S. trade laws and policies to benefit U.S. steel consumers.