- Whole neighborhoods razed by Oklahoma tornado that killed 24 |
- Analysis: Some Republicans see new scandal in Sebelius fundraising
- Convicted U.S. killer Arias would join tiny death row group
- Apple CEO makes no apology for company's tax strategy |
- Drop in U.S. underground water levels has accelerated -USGS
U.S. promises changes to controversial trade method
GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States promised its trading partners on Tuesday that it would make changes to a controversial method for calculating duties on unfairly priced imports.
But Japan and the European Union said assurances that Washington would comply with repeated condemnations from dispute panels and the appeal court at the World Trade Organization did not go far enough and left many questions unanswered.
The United States has been isolated at the WTO by its support for zeroing -- a method used by the Department of Commerce (USDOC) to calculate anti-dumping duties that has been rejected by every other one of the trade body's 153 members.
U.S. trade officials say the adverse rulings go beyond current international trade agreements, and have promised to fight for zeroing to be recognized in the Doha round negotiations for a new global trade deal.
"However, the United States recognizes the systemic importance of compliance with dispute settlement findings," a U.S. official told the WTO's dispute settlement body.
"To that end we have devoted significant resources to comply with the recommendations and rulings in this and other zeroing disputes," he said in a status report on Washington's efforts to comply with the rulings in recent cases.
International trade rules allow members to impose duties on goods that are dumped -- sold for less than they cost at home, if that damages businesses in the importing country.
Setting anti-dumping duties often involves comparing batches of goods. In zeroing, the authorities ignore examples where the imported goods actually cost more than they do at home, which critics say unfairly inflates the duties.
On December 28 the Commerce Department said it proposed changing the methods it uses in reviewing existing anti-dumping duties. It would compare monthly average prices and offset them when export prices turn out to be higher.
This would bring the practice for review into line with what the department is already doing on initial investigations.
The U.S. official said the administration would hold consultations on the proposal with congressional committees following a period for public comment ending on January 27.
Japanese and EU officials welcomed the proposal, but a Japanese official said it was not clear whether it would fully meet the WTO rulings and could leave open the possibility of using methods that were inconsistent with WTO rules.
An EU official expressed similar concerns.
"While this proposal by USDOC is a step in the right direction it should be clear that the proposal -- even if adopted and implemented correctly -- will not bring about full implementation, unless it is supplemented by additional measures," the EU official said.
Washington should say what it was going to do in cases where exporters in other countries had paid duties now found to be in excess of WTO rules, the EU official said.
Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, the EU, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Thailand have all won WTO cases over zeroing, and the United States currently faces another challenge from Vietnam. Because of the consistent jurisprudence, Washington did not even contest the South Korean, Thai and Ecuador claims.
Japan and the EU are seeking and Mexico is threatening sanctions over the cases.
(Editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Noah Barkin)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this