U.S. Customs and Border Protection is distributing the last antidumping duties to be paid to U.S. companies under the "Byrd Amendment."
The agency said it began withholding some funds beginning in 2006 pending the outcome of litigation in the federal courts over some companies' eligibility as "affected domestic producers." To be eligible, they had to be registered with the International Trade Commission. The courts settled the issues in 2010.
Between 2006 and 2010, Customs distributed more than $875 million in Byrd Amendment claims. Withheld claims are a relatively small fraction.
The amendment, named for the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., provided that U.S. companies could collect the antidumping duties Customs collected if they claimed they had been harmed by foreign goods sold in the U.S. for less than their manufacturing cost.
The law was controversial from the start. Byrd, a master of legislative maneuvering, added the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act to an agriculture appropriations bill when it was in conference. Lawmakers in the House and Senate never voted on it.
In 2002, the World Trade Organization ruled that the Byrd Amendment was illegal. Congress repealed the law in 2005 under the threat of sanctions by the European Union and Japan. However, Customs continued to collect Byrd Amendment revenue through 2007.
Customs said it will continue to hold distributions to some 30 companies while their eligibility is still being determined. For the balance, the agency will make distribution year by year through 2010.
-- Contact R.G. Edmonson at email@example.com.