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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 November, 2004, 02:03 GMT
US vows to end banned tariff rule
Corn (generic)
Fines may be imposed on US products from sweetcorn to textiles
The US says it will comply with a World Trade Organisation ban on the US practice of levying tariffs on imports it regards as excessively cheap.

President George W Bush said on Friday that he would work with Congress to bring the US into compliance.

The announcement follows a WTO ruling allowing the EU, Japan and other countries to impose tariffs on US imports in retaliation.

The US steel industry has been the main beneficiary of the American law.

The co-called "Byrd Amendment" allows US firms to blow the whistle on practices by trading partners they regard as unfair .

The money raised by the tariffs can be passed on to American companies.

Mulling sanctions

But the latest WTO decision condemned the rule, and gave other countries the go-ahead to impose their own punitive sanctions on US goods.

I think it's important that all nations comply with WTO rulings
US President George W Bush

Both the EU and Japan have already presented the WTO with a list of products and goods they plan to hit, ranging from sweetcorn to metals to textiles.

Speaking in Texas on Friday Mr Bush made clear Washington would respect the decision.

"We've worked hard to comply with the WTO. I think it's important that all nations comply with WTO rulings."

Earlier Canada, which along with Brazil, South Korea, India, Mexico and Chile is involved in the complaint, said it was studying what it might impose sanctions on.

These complainants argue that the Byrd Amendment breaks WTO rules by giving US companies an incentive to object.

The US believes that companies that export products at a price below what they normally charge in their home market give unfair competition to domestic producers.

The case is the latest in a string of trade disputes dividing the EU and US.


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