The World Trade Organization gave Brazil the formal go-ahead to impose sanctions on U.S. imports last November after the body ruled the U.S. government spent too much on subsidies for cotton farmers and on an export credit guarantee program. As part of retaliation in a long-standing dispute over U.S. cotton subsidies, Brazil came out with a list of U.S. goods subject to import tariffs on Monday.
Monday's list of around 100 items includes a 50 percent tariff on cars with small engines, a 22 percent tariff on bar code scanners, and a 36 percent levy on methanol. Cotton and cotton products would be charged a 100 percent import tariff, the highest on the list.
The tariffs will go into effect in 30 days, unless the governments can reach a last-minute accord.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will visit Brazil on Tuesday and is expected to make a proposal toward resolving the dispute.
Carlos Marcio Cozendey, head of economic affairs at the foreign ministry, said last week Brazil would publish by March 23 a separate list to cross-retaliate.
The second list could break patents or other intellectual property rights in the music or pharmaceutical industry, analysts said.
The U.S. government could ratify partial changes but a major overhaul to both cotton programs would require the approval of the U.S. Congress and Brazil may perhaps accept a U.S. proposal with a pledge to send a reform bill to Congress.
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