Steel tariff repealed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President George W. Bush signed a proclomation yesterday, rescinding the steel tariffs he had established early in 2002.

Bush said in a statement issued yesterday that he had signed the action to impose tariffs of up to 30 percent on imported steel “to give the [steel] industry a chance to adjust to the surge in foreign imports and to give relief to the workers and communities that depend on steel for their jobs and livelihoods.”

The European Union was expected to impose hefty tariffs on a laundry list of U.S. products sent into Europe if the U.S. did not rescind the tariffs by mid-December. Those so-called “retaliatory” tariffs were expected to be as much as 30 percent on U.S. recreational boats, according to a press release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

“On behalf of the entire recreational boating industry, we applaud President Bush for rescinding the steel tariffs,” said Monita W. Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations. “NMMA and its members have worked tirelessly to inform Congress and the Administration about the danger of keeping the steel tariffs in place.”

“We are extremely pleased that the President decided to rescind the steel tariffs,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “It would have severely damaged our exports, had the EU retaliated with 30 percent tariffs on recreational boats.”

NMMA partnered with member companies and the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition Steel Task Force in Spring 2003 to help convince the Administration to rescind the tariffs.

Bush said that these tariffs had “achieved their purpose, and as a result of changed economic circumstances it is time to lift them.”

“We will continue to pursue economic policies that create the conditions for steel producers, steel consumers — who rely on steel to produce goods ranging from refrigerators to auto parts – and other U.S. manufacturers to succeed,” he added.

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