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January 28, 2005 

CITAC Renews Request For U.S. Congress to Repeal Byrd Amendment

Today the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) issued a press release calling the recently released fiscal year 2004 disbursements of Byrd Amendment payouts totaling $284 million "corporate welfare at its worst." CITAC is requesting the U.S. Congress to repeal the Byrd Amendment for the benefit of U.S. consuming and other industries and to ensure the U.S. complies with international trade rules to avoid retaliation by U.S. trading partners.

The Byrd Amendment, formally known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, requires the U.S. government to distribute antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties to U.S. companies that have successfully filed AD and CVD petitions, rather than to the U.S. Treasury, as was the prior practice. To date, the U.S. Government has paid more than $1 billion in Byrd Amendment funds to U.S. petitioners.

In 2002, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel ruled the Byrd Amendment in violation of U.S. trade obligations, a decision later upheld by the WTO Appellate Body, clearing the way for retaliatory sanctions unless the U.S. repeals the law. The E.U. threatened to impose sanctions on the U.S. in early 2005, however, the E.U. and the other complainants in the case have said they will wait to gauge the intentions of the new US Congress before imposing sanctions.

CITAC noted that 450 companies, individuals and unions received Byrd Amendment funds in 2004 and 44 companies received more than $1 million each. Companies in the steel and steel-containing products sectors received over $138 million in Byrd payouts and candle companies received more than $50 million in total in FY 2004. Other sectors that received substantial payments include food products (such as pasta), softwood lumber, chemicals and cement. A list of $1 million-plus recipients can be found at citac.info/byrd_amendment/winners2004.htm.

Efforts by the Bush Administration to repeal the Byrd Amendment will face significant opposition in the 109th Congress. Senior congressional staffers have indicated that repeal of the Byrd Amendment will become more difficult with each passing day given the increasing number of U.S. companies that receive such funds.


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