- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 30, 2006

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union imposed $9.1 million in additional sanctions on the United States today in response to anti-dumping measures meant to protect U.S. companies. The World Trade Organization had declared the U.S. rules illegal.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson’s office said the new measures were justified because U.S. government payments to American companies are scheduled to continue for two years despite the disputed trade law being repealed in February.

The $9.1 million in additional EU sanctions brings the total amount of penalties levied against the U.S. in response to the disputed trade law to $36.9 million, the European Commission said.

Since May, Europeans have had to pay more for U.S. clothing, textiles, machinery, paper products and sweet corn as part of the sanctions.

The EU executive said the measures would counter an estimated $2 billion in U.S. government payments to American companies over the next two budget years, ending 2008. The U.S. payments are part of a law known as the Byrd amendment, which allows American companies to receive proceeds from anti-dumping duties levied on foreign rivals.

“As long as the distributions continue, the United States will not be in compliance with WTO rules,” the commission said.

Eight items have been added to the list of U.S. products covered by thepunitive 15 percent additional import duty, the commission said.

“These products are different types of blankets, paper products, photocopying apparatus and drills,” the commission said.

The Geneva-based WTO ruled the U.S. legislation illegal in 2002 and gave the United States until the end of 2003 to conform. When it did not, seven countries and the European Union were given the option in 2004 to impose sanctions.

The other complainants were Canada, Brazil, Chile, India, Japan, South Korea and Mexico.

The Byrd amendment was approved in 2000, and billions of dollars in payments have been distributed to producers of metals, food and other household items.

The European Union said that despite the long-running feud over the Byrd amendment, “the huge bulk of EU-U.S. trade is trouble-free.”

The two sides continue to spar in world trade talks and have slammed each other’s recent proposals over opening up trade in their agricultural sectors.

The European Union and the U.S. also have come to blows over subsidies and aid that they give to rival aircraft builders Airbus SAS and Boeing Co., respectively. The dispute is before a panel at the WTO.

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