For Immediate Release
Contact: Arlene Mayeda or Curt Cultice (202) 482-3809
May 10, 2000
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE REACTS TO
WTO APPELLATE BODY DECISION ON LEADED STEEL BAR DISPUTE
Washington, DC - The Commerce Department today reacted
to the World Trade Organization's Appellate Body ruling against
the United States in a dispute involving subsidies provided to
a British steel producer.
"I am extremely disappointed by today's decision of the WTO Appellate
Body," said Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Robert
S. LaRussa. "Despite this decision, the Administration continues
to be fully committed to ensuring that U.S. producers and workers,
and their communities, are not injured by unfair trade practices."
This dispute arose out of the Department's countervailing duty
order on certain hot-rolled lead and bismuth carbon steel products
(leaded steel bar) from the United Kingdom. In its annual reviews
of this countervailing duty order, the Department determined that
certain subsidies continued to provide benefits even after the
producers were privatized. The EC claimed that this approach violates
the WTO Subsidies Agreement and brought its case to the WTO.
On December 23, 1999, a WTO dispute settlement panel agreed with
the EC, ruling that because a "fair market value" was paid for
the subsidized operations, any past benefits were extinguished.
The United States then appealed this decision, arguing again that
privatization transactions do not automatically eliminate the
benefit from prior subsidies. Today, the WTO Appellate Body disagreed
with the United States and upheld the panel's decision.
The Administration is in the process of reviewing this highly