November 10,2003

Baucus Statement on World Trade Organization Steel Safeguard Ruling

"I am deeply disappointed that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body today affirmedthe panel decision against the United States on its steel safeguard measures. I was a primarysupporter of instituting the safeguard action, and I continue to believe that American steel companiesneed the breathing space the safeguard allows. I also feel strongly that the U.S. law and process inthis case were entirely consistent with our WTO obligations, but the WTO’s review of the casefailed to accord U.S. actions sufficient deference.

The WTO's repeated failure to apply the proper standard of review undermines both the integrityof domestic trade laws and the WTO as an institution. Further, the EU's insistence on imposingretaliatory measures without observing established rules of dispute resolution compliance isunfair and counterproductive. These should be matters of concern for anyone who cares aboutthe future of the global trading system. The safeguard remedy serves an important role as asafety valve against the flow of excessive imports. Without it, the consensus in favor ofliberalization in the United States and in other countries might be seriously weakened.

This decision shows once again that the Administration needs to do something about the badlyflawed WTO dispute settlement process. As a first step, the Administration should support myproposal for a WTO Dispute Settlement Review Commission. The Commission would increasethe transparency of the WTO dispute settlement system by examining whether WTO decisionsapply the proper standard of review and avoid creating obligations that were never negotiated."