- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2002

From combined dispatches
A U.S. trade panel yesterday said companies in four European countries are hurting USEC Inc., the largest supplier of enriched uranium, by using government subsidies to sell the metal in the United States below cost.
The International Trade Commission ordered punitive duties of up to 32 percent on enriched uranium from Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The ITC said in a statement that it made "affirmative determinations" in a final ruling in anti-dumping investigations into uranium used for nuclear-power generation.
"The U.S. government's decision will help ensure that the U.S. enrichment market remains open for strong, healthy competition," said William Timbers, chief executive of Bethesda-based USEC.
The ITC, a quasi-judicial panel, upheld the findings of the Commerce Department last year that uranium was being sold at unfairly low prices to the United States.
The ITC did not include details of its ruling, but USEC, the company that brought the complaint, said the final ruling called for a duty of 32.1 percent on imports from Eurodif, a French government-controlled firm, and 2.23 percent on imports from Urenco, a British-Dutch-German consortium.
USEC said that using the industry standard unit of measurement, this translates into estimated duties on the value of Eurodif imports of 53.5 percent and on the value of Urenco imports of 3.72 percent.
In a statement from its headquarters in Britain, Urenco said it disputed the finding and was considering an appeal.
"We do not agree with the [countervailing] duty as determined by the Commerce Department in December and certainly do not accept that long-past subsidies could be regarded as causing or threatening material injury to USEC. The troubles of USEC are of its own making," said Urenco Chief Executive Klaus Messer.
The ruling will add to trade tensions between the United States and European Union over issues ranging from a European Union win at the World Trade Organization against a $4 billion U.S. tax break for companies, to the looming U.S. threat of restrictions on steel imports.
In December, European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy threatened to complain to the WTO about the uranium case, saying USEC, as a previously government-owned company, benefited from subsidies.
The duties will be levied by the U.S. Customs Service beginning next month, once the final ruling is sent to the Commerce Department.

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