The European Commission is to impose sanctions on certain products including textiles from the United States, in what it says is an application of a ruling by the World Trade Organisation.

"The Commission took this latest step in the dispute over the Byrd Amendment in light of the continuing failure of the United States to bring its legislation in conformity with its international obligations," the Commission said.

The Commission has proposed that an additional duty of 15 per cent will be applied from 1 May 2005 on a range of paper, agricultural, textile and machinery products imported from the US.

The proposal comes after authorisation granted in November 2004 by the WTO to impose retaliatory measures against the US for its failure to repeal the Byrd Amendment. This was first ruled illegal by the WTO in January 2003 and should have been repealed by 27 December 2003, the Commission said.

The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (the so-called Byrd Amendment) provides that anti-dumping and countervailing duties collected following a complaint from US companies are distributed to those companies that brought or supported the complaints.

Eight WTO members (Brazil, Canada, Chile, the EU, India, Japan, Korea and Mexico) requested on 26 January 2004 that the WTO authorise retaliation. The eight members together represent 71 per cent of total US exports and 64 per cent of total US imports.

The Commission said it expects Canada to announce retaliatory measures against certain products from the US, with other co-complainants also soon making similar move