Elec. Telegraph: US v. Britain/Europe--Trade war looms again

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

From today's Electronic Telegraph:


US to hit imports in beef ban row, By Toby Helm in Brussels and Ben Fenton in Washington

BRITISH exports face heavy penalties in the United States after a ruling by the World Trade Organisation that the European Union was wrong to ban American beef treated with hormones 11 years ago.

The Americans are expected to impose penalty tariffs on July 26 if last-minute negotiations collapse. Brian Wilson, the British trade minister, urged Washington to pull back from a move that would punish companies that had nothing to do with the row over beef.

On Monday, the World Trade Organisation allowed the United States to impose $116.8 million (£74 million) of penalty tariffs a year on EU exports and the Administration has already issued a preliminary list of products it is likely to hit. Canada was permitted to impose tariffs worth $7.7 million (£5 million).

The wide-ranging list of possible targets includes Rocquefort cheese, chewing gum, raspberry jam and motorcycles. It is the second major defeat for Europe in transatlantic trade disputes this year, following the imposition of penalties worth $191 million (£123 million) on the EU earlier this year for favouring Caribbean banana producers over American.

Peter Scher, a special negotiator for the United States Trade Representatives, said no decision had been made on how the penalties would be imposed, but he expected it to be finalised by the end of this month. He said: "We are listening to the requests of American beef farmers who want us to hit the biggest countries in Europe, Britain, France and Germany."

But Mr Wilson said: "I hope the United States will draw back from what I believe is a wrong course of action. It is wrong to pursue a dispute by taking action against companies and communities that have absolutely nothing to do with that dispute."

European trade officials in America, who tacitly admit that the EU was at fault over the bananas, are hopeful that they can persuade Washington to accept compensation in some other form to avoid punitive tariffs of up to 100 per cent duty on some items. The Americans claim that there is no evidence that beef treated with a variety of hormones has any effect on human beings. An offer to label American beef as hormone-treated was rejected by Brussels.

The latest trade row dates back to the late Eighties, when the EU imposed a ban on American beef that had been treated with hormones on the grounds that they could cause cancer. The WTO agreed on May 17 with American arguments that there was no scientific evidence to support this, but the EU asked for time to implement changes and then cited a research report showing that one of the six main hormones used, oestradiol-17, could cause cancer.

When the EU failed to change its position, America pressed ahead with its case for punitive tariffs. But more conflict is on the horizon. A United States Trade Representative official said yesterday that the tariffs would only compensate for past damage. The policy of the EU was unchanged and America would continue to seek compensation for every day its beef was banned in Europe.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), July 14, 1999


Let's see.......didn't we have a trade war in 1929, too?

-- de (delewis@Xinetone.net), July 14, 1999.

Reminded of this prior link...

US Dept of Commerce: Y2k and the Global Trading System

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 000lL0

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), July 14, 1999.

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