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US THREATENS SANCTIONS ON EC FARM EXPORTS

By Reuters / November 5, 1992



CHICAGO

After failing to settle a dispute over EC subsidies on oilseeds - soybeans, sunflower seeds, and other vegetable oil crops - the United States and the European Community, are teetering on the brink of a trade war that could dash global efforts to reform international trade.

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After three days of meetings here between EC Farm Commissioner Ray MacSharry and US Agriculture Secretary Edward Madigan the US Agriculture department announced it is seeking approval from the 108-nation General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to retaliate against EC oilseed subsidies. The EC has said it would counter such a move. GATT panels twice have upheld US contentions that the subsidies violate trade agreements.

The Bush administration has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on up to $1 billion worth of EC products. Washington is expected initially to announce sanctions on $300 million to $350 million worth of EC imports.