US, EU agree deal to ease tariffs on steel and aluminum – .

US, EU agree deal to ease tariffs on steel and aluminum – .

The United States and the EU have agreed to ease tariffs on billions of dollars in steel and aluminum products in a bid to resolve a trade dispute that has plagued transatlantic relations since the Trump administration.

“We have agreed with the United States to suspend our steel and aluminum activities [section 232] trade dispute and launch cooperation on a global agreement on sustainable steel and aluminum, ”said Valdis Dombrovskis, EU Trade Commissioner. He said Joe Biden, US President, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, would give more details on Sunday.

The Biden administration and the EU have been negotiating a steel and aluminum trade deal for months. Former President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on metal products under little-used national security legislation in 2018.

The agreement puts in place a system of tariff quotas, which will allow exports of metals between the EU and the United States with lower levies up to a certain volume.

The EU was due to raise retaliatory tariffs on US goods from December 1, after suspending its actions in May to allow time for negotiations.

The deal was announced at the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday, as part of a deal according to US officials that would reduce global carbon emissions and Chinese overcapacity in the sector, while easing bottlenecks in the industry. the supply chain in the metals industry.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that in addition to the EU’s elimination of retaliatory tariffs against the US, “we have agreed to suspend WTO disputes against each other. related to 232 disputes ”.

“Going forward, the US and EU will analyze the volume of steel and aluminum imports from the EU each year, share information and best practices on trade remedies and ensure that that products from non-market economies do not benefit from the agreement, ”she said.

Tai told reporters that the agreement “also responds to China’s global overcapacity and strengthens the enforcement mechanism to prevent leakage of Chinese steel and aluminum and others unfairly traded in the US market.”

The EU was under enormous pressure from steelmakers to get tariffs lifted. An EU official said the US would allow at least as much steel as before the tariffs.

The United States bought around 3.2 million tonnes per year from the EU before tariffs and this has fallen by a third since.

The deal mirrors those reached with Canada and Mexico, which agreed to limit steel imports in exchange for tariffs being lifted.

Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, an association of American metal producers that supports tariffs, said he appreciates “the continued recognition by the Biden administration that the US steel industry is essential to our national and economic security ”. .

But he warned: “The proper implementation and enforcement of the [tariff rate quotas] will be crucial to ensure that the new measures are effective in achieving these critical goals. “

U.S. spirits producers, who had been hit with retaliatory tariffs in the dispute, were elated. “With the removal of these EU tariffs, we are energized and ready to step up our promotions of American whiskey in the EU to reintroduce Native American spirits to EU consumers and resume great success in the EU. ‘American export,’ said Distilled Spirits Council chairman Chris Swonger.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters the deal removed “one of the biggest bilateral irritants in US-EU relations.”

“The deal, ultimately, to negotiate a carbon-based deal on steel and aluminum trade deals with both Chinese overproduction and carbon intensity in the industry. steel and aluminum; it shows that we can solve the climate crisis while better protecting our workers, ”he said.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the two sides agreed to “face our common challenge, which is global excess capacity, mainly from China.”

She added that many American companies would not have survived a “crippling” 50% European retaliatory tariff due in certain sectors from December 1.

The deal received early support on Capitol Hill. “By working together, the United States and the EU can successfully tackle China’s predatory economic policies and ensure the success of American workers,” said Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who competence over trade.

“Continuing to strengthen US-EU relations is essential to fight China’s efforts to take over entire industries and leave American workers behind,” he added.


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