July 11,2003

Statement of Senator U.S. Max Baucus WTO Steel Ruling

I am disappointed that yet another World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled against the United States in a safeguard case. I was the author of the Senate Finance Committee resolution calling for the launch of this steel section 201 action. I feel strongly that the remedy is fully justified by the facts, and that the U.S. law and process in this case were entirely consistent with our WTO obligations. The safeguard remedy is working exactly as it is supposed to – allowing the domestic steel industry breathing room as real consolidation and adjustment are occurring. It is critical that we allow that process to continue for the full three years.

I believe the WTO panel has ruled in error and fully support USTR’s commitment to appeal. The panel’s decision highlights yet again the need to reform the WTO dispute resolution process. We must prevent future panels from creating obligations that were never negotiated. Our negotiators must also work to rectify past panel and Appellate Body decisions that undermine our trade laws. Only then will the United States be assured the viable safeguard remedy for which it bargained in the Uruguay Round.