Repeal of 1916 Antidumping Provision Approved
House measure brings US into compliance with WTO rules
WASHINGTON, DC - 01/05/04 - A House of Representatives committee has approved a bill to annul antidumping provisions of a 1916 law, a change that would bring the US into compliance with World Trade Organization rules.
The House Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote the legislation that would repeal a section of the 87-year old Revenue Act allowing private companies and individuals to seek court action against importers of goods dumped on the US market with the intent of injuring or eliminating a domestic industry.
While the law has rarely been used, the European Union and Japan have argued that it allows US private parties to seek court-sanctioned penalties significantly exceeding antidumping duties consistent with WTO rules. Japan has also claimed that US companies have used the threat of litigation based on the Revenue Act to extort financially beneficial settlements from foreign firms.
In 2000, the WTO ruled that the US law violates WTO agreements and set a December 31, 2001, deadline for the United States to comply with the ruling. The US Trade Representative has requested an extension of the implementation deadline.
Under the WTO ruling, countries can seek WTO authorization to retaliate against US exports unless Congress repeals the provision. In 2003 the EU asked for such authorization arguing that the US had not complied with the WTO decision.
In December 2003, in a case brought by Goss International Corporation against an importer of Japanese printing presses, a jury awarded damages under the 1916 law for the first time since it was enacted.
The Japanese firm is appealing that decision.
The House bill as well as companion legislation introduced in the Senate by Finance Committee Republican Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) would not affect dumping cases pending under the law.
However, another bill in the Senate introduced by Judiciary Committee Republican Chairman Orrin Hatch would apply retroactively to litigation under way.
Both the Senate and the House must pass the same version of the measure before the President can sign it into law.
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