Europe: retaliation against Bush decision

The European Union has decided what it will do in retaliation for the decision taken by the Bush administration to levy import duty on certain grades of steel.

EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy said that if the World Trade Organisation (WTO) determines that the levy is illegal, the USA will have to retract, otherwise the European Union will respond with trade sanctions.

On Monday, the steel dossier will be studied in depth by EU trade ministers. The European Commission has already declared that while the EU steel market will not be closed, under no circumstances can it accept excess steel rebounding from other markets.

On Tuesday, George Bush announced levies of up to 30% on foreign steel imports, stating that this measure would be a temporary measure to help the US steel industry restructure itself. A decision from the WTO could take up to 18 months, by which time, if a decision is unfavourable to the USA, the Bush administration could declare that the temporary period is over and withdraw the levy.

However, the US steel industry is not in a win-win situation. The measures taken by George Bush are sure to push up prices for the American consumer, but not enough to save those industries teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.


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