By  on April 29, 2008

TARIFFS ON HONDURAS: The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it will impose a 5 percent tariff on cotton socks imported from Honduras for six months in an effort to give relief to U.S. manufacturers who said they have been hurt by surging imports from Honduras. The move marked the first time the U.S. has invoked a safeguard restraint for textile and apparel products under a free-trade agreement. Matt Priest, deputy assistant commerce secretary for textiles and apparel and chairman of the interagency Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, said the tariffs will amount to $3 million to $3.5 million over the next half year. Under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. can impose tariffs as high as 13.5 percent for three years. Priest said the Hondurans agreed not to retaliate or seek compensation in the form of tariffs on U.S. exports.

EU CITES U.S. TRADE BARRIERS:
The European Union in a new study singles out high peak tariffs in sectors such as textiles, apparel and footwear and cumbersome red tape as obstacles faced by its exporters seeking to enter the U.S. market. The EU annual report on barriers to trade and investment in the U.S. notes that peak tariffs are 32 percent for some apparel, 25 percent for fabrics and 13.2 percent for yarns. The report notes European exporters also consider as burdensome U.S. documentation and labeling requirements. The study takes issue with the container security initiative started in 2002 to counter potential terrorist threats to trade, and contends a 100 percent scanning requirement for all U.S.-bound containers that is foreseen by 2012 will lead to "major trade disruptions and additional administrative burden."

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