Bush faces critical decision on steel tariff

President Bush must soon decide whether to stick with his steel-tariff initiative and risk retaliation by Europe, or slash the tariffs and face a political backlash from steel-producing states, the Wall Street Journal reported today. These tariffs could discourage steel imports, helping truckers who carry domestic steel, but hurting truckers who pick up steel at ports. The administration is under increasing pressure following a World Trade Organization decision last month that the tariffs violate international trade rules. The U.S. has appealed but isn't expected to prevail. A defeat would pave the way for the European Union to impose $2.2 billion in tariffs on a wide range of U.S products. The EU has threatened to take action within days of a final decision, a step the Bush administration says would break WTO rules, the Journal said. Many people believe that President Bush would face more serious political consequences by slashing the tariffs than by standing firm against the Europeans and other trading partners, the article said.

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