EU to put off decision on retaliation in steel dispute with U.S.

Friday, July 19th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Welcoming ``significant'' concessions by Washington in the trans-Atlantic confrontation over steel trade, the European Union on Friday delayed until Sept. 30 any decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on imports of American goods.

``The United States have taken useful steps in this direction and have told us there is more to come, but there is much more to do,'' EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said in a statement.

The threat of imposing retaliatory tariffs remains, even if delayed, because ``the EU interest is best served by maintaining maximum pressure'' for more concessions, he said.

At the EU head office, envoys of the 15 EU governments endorsed Lamy's recommendation to hold off on $380 million in duties on U.S. products as of Aug. 1, unless the United States exempted enough European steel products from punitive tariffs it imposed early this year.

They set a new deadline of Sep. 30.

Officials said that would give Washington more time to review more than 1,200 applications for exemptions to the U.S. steel tariffs.

On Friday, the United States granted exemptions to 14 more European steel products worth $60 million, bringing the total to 261, EU officials said. The U.S. administration has said it will continue making exemptions through August 31.