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Washington Outlook Archive
James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Importers Pleased To See Antidumping Action

By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

Importers of textiles and apparel are hailing Congress' repeal of the so-called Byrd Amendment that made payments to companies involved in import antidumping cases. The importers maintain it a was costly and unfair subsidy that encouraged companies to make greater use of antidumping statutes. While domestic textile manufacturers would like to have seen the statute continued, it has been of only marginal importance to them, since fabric manufacturers do not have standing in apparel antidumping cases where most of the problems exist. They also have problems with the overall antidumping statute, since it does not apply to state-owned economies like China and Vietnam, and antidumping and countervailing duty cases are and expensive to pursue.

Eric Autor, vice president and international trade counsel for the National Retail Federation, said the Byrd Amendment “represented an egregious example of corporate welfare that has given hundreds of millions of dollars in no-strings-attached government subsidies to a handful of companies at the expense of national security, natural disaster recovery and a host of critical spending priorities.”

Kevin Burke, CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, said the law was “an abomination that should never have been enacted in the first place.”

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that nearly $1 billion has been paid to companies under the Byrd amendment. In addition, the World Trade Organization has ruled the subsidies are illegal, and several countries had begun taking retaliatory measures.

January 1, 2006