Western Europe: Uncommon Authority

Continental Europe's ailing steel industry, already plagued by overcapacity, has been seriously jarred by a recent invasion of cut-rate steel from Japan, Austria, Britain and the Iron Curtain countries. Since the Common Market's steel producers have the right to align their prices to the lowest import offer, they have cut them to unprofitable levels to meet the new competition.

Last week, in a protectionist move that contrasts with recent tariff-cutting efforts, the tariffs on steel imports into the Common Market were raised to a standard 9% (they now range from 4.5% in The Netherlands to 9% in Italy). What...