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US Should Drop Steel Tariffs, Says CBI

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

18 November 2003


Speaking yesterday at the body's annual conference, president of the Confederation of British Industry, John Egan urged US President, George W. Bush to drop 'protectionist' tariffs on steel imports to the United States, arguing that they are damaging the global economy.

"The US government's stance on steel tariffs is not only illegal, it is damaging business on both sides of the Atlantic," he told delegates, adding that: "I urge the President to abandon the tariffs as soon as possible."

Following the World Trade Organisation's recent announcement that an US appeal with regard to the legality of the measure had been rejected, some European observers are reported to be hoping that President Bush will reveal that the tariffs are to be dropped during his visit to the United Kingdom.

Speaking to Reuters, an unnamed UK government source suggested that:

"The US has been making some conciliatory noises. They are otherwise going to come up against some harsh realities as the EU is ready to play hardball."

Given the strength of feeling on the issue on both sides of the debate, both domestically and internationally, however, a complete climbdown appears unlikely. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, a poll commissioned by the steel industry in October found that in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, 69% of voters favoured keeping the tariffs in place for the full three years.


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