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IN SHORT

Slovakia wants steel quotas

SLOVAKIA, as well as the steelmaker U.S. Steel Košice (USSK), will try to persuade the European Commission that an agreement on steel production quotas should become effective only after Slovakia enters the European Union in May 2004, news wire SITA reported.

The Slovak government and USSK will proceed together in discussions with the EC concerning steel production, Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan and the USSK president, Christopher Navetta, agreed on October 20.

The EU has already criticized Slovakia for state aid provided to the Slovak arm of German carmaker Volkswagen and USSK as well as overproduction of steel.

Within pre-entry talks, Slovakia has agreed with the European Union on quotas for production and export of steel to EU countries as well as financial aid provided to USSK in the form of a $500 million (€426.5 million) tax holiday until 2009. steel production by USSK should not grow faster than 3 percent annually compared with 2001, the quotas suggest. The EU wants Slovakia and USSK to start keeping to the quotas right away.

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