WASHINGTON: The Bush administration has decided to repeal its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel to head off a trade war that would have included foreign retaliation against products from politically crucial US states, The Washington Post reported.
Quoting administration and industry sources, the newspaper said yesterday that President George W. Bush would likely announce the decision this week.
The officials said they had to allow for the possibility that Bush would make some change in the plan, but a source close to the White House said it was “all but set in stone”, according to the Post report.
A spokesman for the White House, however, denied that a decision had been made to repeal the tariffs.
“The matter is still under review and we’ll make announcements when there are announcements to make,” the spokesman told Reuters.
Ending the tariffs 16 months ahead of schedule could spark a political backlash against Bush in next year’s presidential election in the pivotal steel-producing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
But The Washington Post sources said Bush’s aides had concluded they could not run the risk that the European Union (EU) would carry out its threat to impose sanctions on citrus fruit from Florida, farm machinery, textiles and other products. – Reuters
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