Senators to Bush: Hands off Trade Act; Move to Repeal Meets Resistance
Byline: Jeffrey Sparshott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
More than two-thirds of the Senate signed and sent a letter to President Bush yesterday defending a trade measure that pays millions of dollars to U.S. companies annually.
The Bush administration's budget, released Monday, calls on Congress to repeal the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000, also known as the Byrd Amendment, for Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who wrote the measure.
Under the act, the U.S. Customs Service collects duties on products the government says are unfairly subsidized or dumped in the United States. Those duties are paid to the U.S. companies that lodged the complaint. Foreign businesses ended up paying $329 million to about 1,200 U.S. companies last year.
Mr. Bush, in Monday's budget, called the measure a corporate subsidy that provides a "double-dip" benefit to industries that already gain protection from the tariffs.
The World Trade Organization last month ruled that the act violates international trade rules and urged the United States to revise it. …