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Clinton trade actions irritate EC nations.

Two international trade move made in the early days of the Clinton administration apparently surprised European Community officials, provoking testy responses.

Sir Leon Brittan, EC external affairs commissioner, called an announcement the United states would impose antidumping penalties on flat steel products imported from 20 countries, including 7 EC member states, "particularly unfortunate and inopportune at the beginning of a new U.S. administration." He added, "Such heavy-handed action - targeting not only Community steel producers but also those from Japan, Korea, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Finland, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Austria and Sweden - will further weaken the chances of reaching a multilateral steel agreement, which the United States hitherto has supported."

In addition, U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor announced the intention to prohibit awards of federal contracts for EC products and services in retaliation for discriminatory provisions in EC public procurement practices, thus following through on a threat made by the Bush administration. Brittan said, "We do not accept this form of unilateral bullying - especially since there are ongoing EC-U.S. negotiations on telecommunication procurement and other issues within the Uruguay Round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade talks."

A Washington, D.C., meeting between Kantor and Brittan apparently smoothed the path for further negotiations. Following the meeting, Kantor announced President Clinton would ask Congress to renew authority for U.S. trade negotiators to conclude a quick GATT agreement. Brittan said the announcement "breathed new life into the Uruguay Round talks."
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 1, 1993
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