US and EU end Trump-era tariff war on steel and aluminum

WASHINGTON/ROME – The United States and the European Union agreed to end a dispute over U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018, removing jitters in transatlantic relations and avoiding retaliatory high tariffs in the European Union, U.S. officials said. . Saturday.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters the deal would keep US “Section 232” tariffs at 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, while allowing “limited quantities” of EU-produced metals to enter the US duty-free.

It eliminates the source of friction between allies and allows them to focus on negotiating a new global trade agreement to address global steel and aluminum capacity surpluses primarily centered in China and reduce carbon emissions from industries.

EU Trade Head Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed the agreement, Writing on Twitter We agreed with the United States to stop the trade dispute and begin cooperation on a future global arrangement on sustainable steel and aluminum. Dombrovskis said Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen would formally announce the deal on Sunday.

US officials have not specified how much duty-free steel is allowed into the US under the tariff quota system agreed with the European Union.

US officials said the deal gives an additional two years of duty-free access over the quota for European Union steel products that won the Commerce Department’s exceptions last year.

The agreement requires all EU steel and aluminum production in the bloc – a standard known as “smelting and casting” – to qualify for duty-free status. This ruling aims to prevent minerals from China and non-EU countries from being minimally processed in Europe before exporting to the United States.

Europe Export About 5 million tons of steel were shipped annually to the United States before Trump imposed tariffs on national security grounds.

“The agreement to eventually negotiate a carbon-based arrangement on the steel and aluminum trade addresses both China’s excess production and the carbon intensity of the steel and aluminum sector,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters, adding that the climate and workers could be protected. At the same time.

Steel production in the United States, which relies heavily on electric arc furnaces, is seen to have much lower carbon emissions than the predominant coal-fueled blast furnaces in China.

Biden has sought to mend ties with European allies in the wake of the Trump presidency to counter the broader state-led Chinese economic practices that have led to Beijing building massive steelmaking capabilities and which have flooded global markets.

US officials said the deal would eliminate retaliatory European tariffs against US products including bourbon whiskey, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and motor boats that were due to double on Dec.

“The end of this long tariff nightmare looms for American distillers who have suffered from the weight of tariffs and the pandemic,” said Chris Swinger, president of the Distilled Liquor Council, who also urged Britain to raise tariffs on American whiskey.

Standard steel prices

Raimondo said the deal would cut costs for US manufacturers that consume steel. Steel prices more than tripled in the past year to reach record highs of over $1,900 a ton, as the industry struggled to keep pace with rising demand after lockdowns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to inflation.

Mark Duffy said US primary aluminum producers, which had shrunk to two by the time Trump imposed tariffs, would be able to maintain their investment in reviving domestic energy because quotas are set at very low levels, well below pre-volumes. Customs tariff. CEO of the American Aluminum Association Primary Industry Group.

American Iron and Steel Institute President Kevin Dempsey said the quota arrangement would help “prevent another surge in steel imports that would undermine our industry and destroy well-paid American jobs.”

“We urge the United States and the European Union to take effective steps to hold China and other countries that use trade distortion policies to account,” Dempsey added. “We also believe that US-EU cooperation should focus on new business approaches to address climate change, including through the development of effective measures to adjust carbon limits.”

Due to Brexit, British steel exports remain subject to tariffs, as do those of other US allies including Japan. The US Chamber of Commerce, which has opposed metal tariffs from the start, said the tariffs and quotas from “close allies” should be dropped.

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