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USTR Drops Rayon Products From Punitive Tariffs

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

In a move supported by US textile and fiber manufacturers, the US Trade Representative (USTR) has excluded rayon fiber and yarn products from the list of European imports subject to punitive tariffs. Rayon staple fiber, which had been on the list for tariffs of 100 percent was dropped, and the United States decided not to add rayon yarn to the list, as had been under consideration. Major US textile and fiber trade associations had filed comments with the USTR opposing adding rayon yarn to the list.

The tariffs had been imposed on certain European imports in retaliation against a ban on US beef imports, which the World Trade Organization (WTO) had deemed illegal. The WTO authorized the United States to levy additional tariffs on trade worth $116 million per year. Some products were added to the list and others were dropped, but the two rayon categories are the only textiles involved.

USTR Susan C. Schwab expressed the hope that the January 15 action on the retaliation list would lead to a final settlement of the dispute.

January 20, 2009