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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Paul Nathanson
December 21, 2005 The PBN Company
Tel. 202-466-6210


SENATE VOTES TO REPEAL THE BYRD AMENDMENT

Washington DC — The U.S. Senate today approved repeal of the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, commonly known as the "Byrd Amendment," as part of The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. In a compromise reached between House of Representatives and Senate conferees, the repeal will be delayed for two years and Byrd Amendment distributions will continue for entries made prior to October 1, 2007. The conference report now heads back to the House for final action to resolve discrepancies between the House and Senate reports that are unrelated to repeal of the Byrd Amendment. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation soon.

"This is a great victory for U.S. consuming industries," said CITAC Executive Director Steve Alexander. "CITAC congratulates the Senate for the repeal of the Byrd Amendment. We will work to secure final passage and ensure that this raid on the Treasury stops after October 1, 2007 as provided in the bill. We also will continue to track Byrd Amendment disbursements in future years to underscore the importance of repealing this trade-distorting law.

"We heard predictions from many critics and pundits that Congress would never repeal the Byrd Amendment," continued Alexander. "Tremendous credit goes to Senate and House leaders, and in particular to Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA), Subcommittee on Trade Chairman Clay Shaw (R-FL), Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and the entire House leadership, and Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for their outstanding leadership and dedication to repealing the Byrd Amendment. We also thank the Administration, especially U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman."

"The repeal of the Byrd Amendment will affect Customs entries subject to antidumping or countervailing duties beginning October 1, 2007," said Lewis Leibowitz of Hogan & Hartson LLP, Counsel to CITAC. "While CITAC regrets the delay in effecting full repeal, we recognize that compromise is part of the legislative process. The important thing to CITAC is that the Byrd Amendment is finally being repealed, bringing the U.S. into compliance with its WTO obligations and ending an unjustified subsidy to a few private companies." 

The Byrd Amendment distributes antidumping and countervailing duties collected in each trade remedy case to the companies that petitioned or supported antidumping and countervailing duty actions. Other Customs duties are distributed to the U.S. Treasury.

More than $1.26 billion in Byrd Amendment payouts have been distributed since 2001, with more than one-third, or $476 million, going to a single corporation, the Timken Company, and two of its subsidiaries. Two-thirds of all Byrd payments went to only three industries, including bearings, candles, and steel. The amounts distributed to individual corporations can distort the competitive structure of an industry, leading to a reduction in competition.

More than half of the $226 million of Byrd Amendment payouts in 2005 went to five companies, and 80% percent of the payouts went to only 34 companies. Companies in the steel and steel-containing products sectors received by far the largest Byrd payouts, totaling $154 million. Other sectors that received substantial government payouts include food products, such as honey, pasta, and catfish ($26 million); candles ($21 million); and fibers ($5 million).

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in 2002 that the Byrd Amendment violates U.S. trade obligations. Congress' failure to repeal the law has resulted in WTO-authorized retaliation against U.S. exports by Canada , the European Union, Japan and Mexico on products including baby formula, oysters, wine, dairy products, candy and chewing gum. Total retaliatory tariffs from these countries for 2005 are approximately $114 million. However, approximately $3.7 billion is being held by U.S. Customs in duties assessed against Canadian softwood lumber. Should these duties be distributed as Byrd payments, the level of Canada 's authorized retaliation would skyrocket.

 


CITAC is a coalition of companies and organizations committed to promoting a trade arena where U.S. consuming industries and their workers have access to global markets for imports that enhance the international competitiveness of American firms.

For additional information, visit www.citac.info or contact Paul Nathanson at The PBN Company at (202) 466-6210 or .

 

 

 

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