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EEC Lists 30 'Unfair' U.S. Trade Practices

December 19, 1987|Associated Press

BRUSSELS — The European Economic Community on Friday published a list of 30 U.S. trade practices that it said represented barriers to hundreds of millions of dollars in EEC exports.

Among the practices cited were restrictions on imports of various agricultural products, a prohibition on imports of firearms and munitions, and limits on imports of certain types of West German machine tools.

The EEC has complained of the U.S. practices before. It said it was publishing the list to combat an impression made by the U.S. government that only American exporters faced substantial trade obstacles.

In a text accompanying the report, the EEC executive commission said wide-reaching trade legislation under consideration by Congress would, if it became law, seriously harm U.S.-European trade relations.

Could Retaliate

The trade bill contains provisions that many U.S. trade partners consider protectionist and contrary to the spirit of the new Uruguay Round of global trade liberalization talks that began last year.

"It is likely to increase pressures for the adoption of mirror legislation by the U.S. trade partners, thus not only jeopardizing the very aim sought by the proposals but also resulting in a major disruption of world trade," the report said.

"If the United States were to adopt a protectionist trade (bill) . . . the community would not hesitate to make use of its legitimate rights" to challenge the laws in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, it said.

The Geneva-based GATT sets and monitors world trade regulations.

In its list of unfair U.S. trade practices, the EEC cited:

- Import taxes on petroleum products and certain chemical derivatives, as part of the Superfund to finance cleanup of toxic waste sites. It said these taxes cost the EEC $26.6 million a year.

- Customs user fees applied to all imported merchandise, which the EEC claims are illegal. It says these fees will cost the EEC $175.5 million this year.

- Lengthy and costly approval procedures for EEC suppliers of switches and transmission equipment. It said it could not determine how much this costs Europe, but said it clearly discouraged exporters.

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