European Union Stands Up to American Corporations


Richard Moore

From: "dnordin" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Europe may punish the USA
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 09:09:34 -0700

From: Eva Lyman <•••@••.•••>
To: dnordin <•••@••.•••>
Date: Monday, May 12, 2003 9:06 AM

....from Pravda
European Union Stands Up to American Corporations -
05/08/2003 20:02

Europe may punish the USA for its swindling in
international trade

  It seems that Old Europe's intention to play a more
independent role in the world is not a momentary
caprice or an intensification of a suppressed
inferiority complex. The USA has managed to threaten
France and Germany with a boycott and some economic
punishment, while the European Union found an
opportunity to crack down on the superpower with the
help of subtlety in the field of international trade,
which brings incredible profits to American companies.
Everything is legal about it.

  It became known today that the WTO allowed the
European Union to introduce trade sanctions against the
United States. Such a decision looks astounding against
the background of the situation, when the whole world
is waiting for the USA to overcome its crisis with the
help of Iraqi oil. Yet, the Old Word is famous for its
pragmatism and craftiness, so it gave a reminder that
one should not ignore its outdated ambitions.

  What was the reason for EU officials to make such an
amazing decision? American export laws stipulate
considerable benefits for large USA-based exporters.
American companies, such as Microsoft, Walt Disney or
Boeing, obtain extra-large profits with the help of
those benefits. This seems to be totally illegal for
Europe. American administrative bodies do not pay
attention to the fact that American companies conduct
their business operations through their own divisions
in offshore zones, paying decreased export duties.
Analysts at the European committee believe that
American companies have unfair advantages over their
European competitors. It goes without saying that this
cannot but raise indignation.

  The Europeans made up a list of 95 categories of
American goods which would have additional duties of up
to 100 percent imposed on them. The BBC reported that
the list includes practically all the goods that the
USA delivers on the world market: from oranges to
nuclear reactors. Afterward, EU spokespeople addressed
the World Trade Organization; one could say that they
gave it an ultimatum. The WTO completely acknowledged
the correctness of the indignant Europeans. Later on,
the European Committee gave a trade ultimatum to the
USA, which could be called a Euro-Atlantic knockdown.
Analysts acknowledge that, if sanctions come into
effect, it would be the most massive pressure on the
American economy in the WTO's history.

  Nevertheless, Europe gave the USA some time to
reconcile with its transoceanic allies and partners. At
the end of the day, a poor peace is always better than
a good quarrel. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy told
reporters that the European Committee would hold a
review of the actual trade issue in the fall of the
current year. If the situation does not change in
accordance with European recommendations, the sanctions
will be put into effect. In this case, the USA is at
risk of losing up to four billion dollars every year.

  European media report that the American
administration is ready to make some concessions about
it now. It is possible to understand President Bush:
The American president, the victor, would be brought
down by the WTO's and EU's ultimatum. It goes without
saying that such a thing is out of the question: George
W. Bush is going to remain US president for another

  Apparently, the correction of American laws on the
base of the WTO's decision does not bring any honor to
American lawmakers. In addition to that, the positions
of American corporations on the world market will
worsen. On the other hand, if the USA ignores Old
Europe's requirements, American exports might face a
very serious threat. The USA has problems in exports
and in the economy on the whole, so 100 percent duties
on American goods will become a disaster that might
lead to a considerable devaluation of the dollar.
Furthermore, American lawmakers fear that the Europeans
might go even further and ask for a cancellation of all
duties on all kinds of European steel. The WTO has
already taken a pro-European position on this question:
In March of the current year, the USA was forced to
withdraw increased duties on 178 kinds of steel
production from Europe.

  The argument between the USA and the EU regarding the
benefits of American companies that have divisions
abroad has been going on since 1971. Such benefits
allow USA-based companies to deduct up to 30 percent
from taxable export sales profits. However, a protest
about it was filed at the WTO only last fall, when it
became known that Europe and America cannot find a
common language regarding the new organization of the

  Until recently, the USA has tried to adjust its laws
to WTO norms by means of various amendments. Yet, the
lobbying pressure of America's largest corporations
never allowed for a resolution of the problem.

  The EU's determination is not really surprising after
the war in Iraq.

  Pascal Lamy believes that the American law still
provides exporters an opportunity to obtain illegal
state grants. It seems that Old Europe is not going to
stand for that any longer.

Dmitry Slobodanuk

©1999-2003 "PRAVDA.Ru". When reproducing our materials
in whole or in part, reference to PRAVDA.Ru should be
made. The opinions and views of the authors do not
always coinside with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru's


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