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Congress approves Byrd Amendment phase-out by 2007

[JURIST] The US Senate voted Wednesday to repeal the Byrd Amendment in October 2007, following a similar vote [JURIST report] in the US House of Representatives last month. Officially known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act [text], the amendment, which allows private companies to collect duties from foreign imports that the government considers to be unfairly priced or subsidized, has been declared illegal by foreign governments and the World Trade Organization (WTO) [official website] as a violation of global trade laws [JURIST report]. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) [official website] announced [JURIST report] in a September report [text] that five companies received over $500 million through the amendment, and two-thirds of all payments were made to three industries - steel, bearings, and candles. Canada has said that Wednesday's vote is inadequate and has called for an immediate repeal of the amendment, saying that US lumber companies will make over $5 billion in profits from the duties as the phase-out provision is currently worded. Canada's Globe and Mail has more.

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