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Bush Issues 3rd Tariff Exemption

June 24, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP)_ The Bush administration on Monday issued its third batch of exemptions from the hefty tariffs the president imposed on imported steel in March, which led to rising tensions with America’s trading partners.

Under Monday’s action, announced by the Commerce Department and the Office of the United States Trade Representative, an additional 116 foreign steel products will be excluded from the tariffs, bringing the total to 224.

The exemptions are granted based on a Commerce Department finding that the United States does not make enough of them to satisfy domestic demand.

The products to be excluded from tariffs cover a broad range of steel goods including stainless steel bar, stainless steel wire, welded pipe and tube and both hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel, Commerce said.

President Bush set a July 3 deadline for decisions on an initial group of around 470 exemption requests.

The president imposed tariffs of up to 30 percent on a range of steel products in March to protect the beleaguered U.S. industry from a flood of imports that has contributed since 1997 to more than 30 bankruptcies of U.S. steel companies and thousands of lost jobs.

The action angered some U.S. trading partners, including Japan and the European Union.

Last Friday, trade negotiators from the United States and the European Union reported no breakthroughs in a dispute over the steep U.S. tariffs. The European Union, however, indicated it would delay a little longer before imposing millions of dollars worth of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products.

The latest batch of exemptions for steel imports came shortly before Bush and leaders of other G-8 countries _ Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada_ convene an economic summit Wednesday in Canada.

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On the Web:

Commerce: http://www.doc.gov/

USTR: http://www.ustr.gov/

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