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The Five-Year Experience of the European Coal and Steel Community

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 May 2009

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Since the signing and ratification of the treaties establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), there has been renewed interest in the organization which pioneered die European effort toward economic integration under supra-national institutions. The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) commemorates this year two anniversaries which are of more dian usual significance. February 10 and May 1, 1958, mark die completion of die first five years of die common market for coal and iron ore, and for steel and scrap, respectively. February 10 also marks die end of die “period of transition” provided by die treaty to cushion die impact of competidon on weak industries and to facilitate their adaptation to die conditions of the common market. During this period, some member countries were authorized to continue certain customs duties (e.g., on Italian imports of coke and steel), subsidies (e.g., for Lorraine coal and coke), and odier protective devices; and in some cases, provision was made for financial assistance by the Community itself (e.g., in favor of coal mines in Belgium and Sardinia). But unlike the escape clauses included in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), diese exemptions and supports were limited to five years, widi die possibility, in some cases, of a further extension of two years. Also during this period, measures were to be taken to eliminate discriminatory practices and to harmonize the conditions of competition, particularly in transport, and a common tariff was to be worked out vis-à-vis non-member countries.

Copyright © The IO Foundation 1958

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