Background

Effective May 1 the European Union has increased from 0.45 percent to 4.3 percent its retaliatory duty on women’s and girls’ jeans, sweet corn, metal eyeglass frames and mountings, and crane trucks from the U.S. Affected EU tariff numbers are 6204.62.31, 0710.40.00, 9003.19.30, and 8705.10.00, respectively.

These additional duties are part of a continuation of sanctions authorized by the World Trade Organization in retaliation for the U.S. failure to fully comply with a WTO ruling against the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000. Commonly referred to as the Byrd Amendment, this law allowed the U.S. to distribute antidumping and countervailing duties collected on foreign-made goods to affected domestic industries. The law was found to violate WTO rules and subsequently repealed, but distributions were allowed to continue for cases initiated prior to the repeal.

In response, the WTO allows each affected country or economy to raise its tariffs on goods imported from the U.S. in direct relation to the amount of AD and/or CV duties on goods from that country or economy that were distributed during the previous year. In a notice filed with the WTO May 17 the EU said its current authorized level of retaliation is $8.17 million, which is 72 percent of the $11.3 million in AD/CV duties collected from EU exports and disbursed to U.S. companies in fiscal year 2016.

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