December 04,2003

Statement of U.S. Senator Max Baucus regarding the Administration's Decision to Remove Safeguard Measures on Steel Imports

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senator Max Baucus, ranking member of the U.S. Senate FinanceCommittee, issued the following statement concerning the President’s decision to remove thesafeguard measures on steel imports:

“I am disappointed that the Administration has failed to follow U.S. law in responding to theWorld Trade Organization’s (WTO) faulty decision against the United States. There is a process inU.S. law for complying with WTO decisions, but the Administration chose not to follow thatprocess.

Under Section 129 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, the Administration could haveasked the International Trade Commission (ITC) whether the ITC could make the U.S. measureconsistent with the WTO ruling. If so, the Administration would then have consulted with Congressand asked the ITC to bring the measure into compliance.

The Administration did not follow this process. It chose instead to ignore U.S. law andsimply lift the safeguard measures, without Congressional consultation. U.S. law does not permitthe Administration to remove a safeguard measure in response to an adverse WTO ruling. Soaccording to the Administration, it is lifting the safeguard measures only due to ‘changed economiccircumstances.’

It should be obvious to everyone that the Administration is in fact removing the safeguardmeasures in response to the WTO ruling, whatever the Administration’s stated justification. I amdeeply disappointed that the Administration has ignored Congress and U.S. law in lifting the steelsafeguard measures.

This is yet another blow to U.S. manufacturers. As we look ahead to 2004, we are going tohave to focus on ways to help U.S. manufacturers. We must, of course, look at ways to improve thedeeply flawed WTO dispute settlement process, which continues to impact U.S. companiesnegatively.

At the same time, we must ensure that we keep in place measures such as the ContinuedDumping and Subsidy Offset Act, which helps U.S. companies hurt by unfair trade. TheAdministration should cease its efforts to repeal this important Act. And we must look for ways tohelp U.S. manufacturers through tax incentives, as we have done in the JOBS Act recently approvedby the Finance Committee. I look forward to working with the Administration on these and otherissues in the coming year.”