US loses appeal on Byrd amendment

Geneva, 16 Jan (Chakravarthi Raghavan) - The Appellate Body of the WTO has turned down a US appeal against a panel ruling on the Byrd amendment to redistribute, and thus reward, customs collections of counter-vailing duties to successful US complainants against dumping or subsidies.

The AB ruling handed down on Thursday said that the Byrd amendment was not a specific action against dumping or subsidies, and thus contrary to the provisions of the Anti-dumping and Subsidies and Countervailing duty agreements.

As a result, the US had not complied with Art.16.4 of the WTO agreement.

The AB has however stopped short of endorsing the panel view that the only way the US could comply would be to repeal the Byrd amendment itself.

Some of the other procedural grounds of the panel ruling were however reversed by the AB.

The US Byrd amendment,’The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000’, directs the redistribution of all funds from assessed duties recovered in anti-dumping and countervailing duty order to affect domestic producers to be used by them for various stipulated purposes.

The law was challenged by Australia, Brazil, Chile, the EC, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and subsequently by Canada and Mexico.

The panel issued the report in September 2002, but the US appealed.

(Detailed analysis of the AB ruling will be carried in a future issue.) – SUNS5264

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