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U.S. Chamber Urges Congress to Avoid Trade War

Sunday, February 29, 2004 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce joined other business organizations and urged lawmakers to fix lingering international tax issues before the European Union imposes retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. The World Trade Organization has ruled that the U.S. tax structure for multinational corporations is in violation of trade rules and has authorized the E.U. to impose as much as $4 billion annually in sanctions.

"These retaliatory tariffs will hurt U.S. exports to Europe at a time when … the global economy is showing signs of renewed growth. Moreover, these tariffs will negatively impact jobs of American workers," according to a joint letter to Congress, signed by Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue.

Earlier efforts by the United States to satisfy the requirements of the World Trade Organization have fallen short and the deadline for a new tax approach has passed. Lawmakers must swiftly enact – and President Bush must sign – legislation that will avert a trade war and fulfill our obligation under trade rules.

"[The] United States must lead by example and comply with adverse WTO decisions if we are to expect similar behavior from our trading partners," according to today's letter.

The Chamber and other business organizations are also running ads in political publications urging action.

The European Union has signaled that it is considering tariffs on a range of American-made products, including: jewelry, agriculture, wood products, toys, textile and apparel products, refrigeration equipment, iron and steel products, construction equipment and paper products.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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