Congress repeals Byrd Amendment
The controversial 'Byrd Amendment,' which allows U.S. companies that file antidumping and countervailing duty petitions to receive the revenues from the duties, has been repealed by Congress.
The Byrd Amendment, officially known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, was repealed as part of a broader, $40 billion federal spending reduction plan. The package which was approved by the Senate by a vote of 51-50'with the vice president’s vote as the tie breaker'and in the House by a vote of 217-215.
The Byrd Amendment repeal was targeted as the top priority of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which has criticized the law as 'a perverse economic incentive for companies to file protectionist antidumping and countervailing duty cases, to expand the scope of cases, and to oppose sunset reviews since they stand to receive a financial windfall for petitioning.'
The Byrd Amendment became law in 2001, and since then there has been more than $1.2 billion in payouts. In 2005, more than half of the $225 million in tariff revenue has been distributed to just five companies.
“Repeal of the Byrd Amendment has been a key trade priority for the retail industry, and we congratulate Congress for passing this important measure,” said RILA’s President Sandy Kennedy. “RILA and its members have been at the forefront of efforts to repeal this ill-advised law that ultimately leads to higher prices for our consumers.
Kennedy added, “This is an important victory for American consumers, retailers, and supporters of free and fair trade. While we were pushing for full and immediate repeal, the legislative process sometimes requires compromises.'
The Byrd Amendment was ruled illegal by the World trade Organization, and as a result, the United States was subject to trade retaliation, which results in higher tariffs on U.S.-made products sold overseas. U.S. products that have had to pay higher tariffs include producers of baby formula, oysters, wine, dairy products, candy and chewing gum.