U.S. Strikes Deal With EU To Relax Trump-Era Steel And Aluminum Tariffs

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 The United States and European Union announced a deal Saturday to ease Trump-era tariffs placed on EU steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

401986 05: Workers use a crane to load a 60,000 pound coil of steel from Holland onto a railroad car … [+] for shipment to Ford Motor Company in Ohio from a warehouse at the South Jersey Port Corporation, March 6, 2002 in Camden, NJ along the Delaware River. On average, two ships per week dock at the facility and unload steel produced in Europe and Asia. U.S. President George W. Bush announced a decision March 5, 2002 to issue tarrifs on imported steel of up to 30 percent as a measure to prop up the ailing U.S. steel industry. (Photo by Tom Mihalek/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

U.S. officials said a limited amount of European steel and aluminum will be allowed to enter the U.S. duty-free under the deal, but the tariffs the Trump administration imposed will remain in place, according to the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

Sources had told Reuters earlier Saturday that EU steelmakers would be able to export 3.3 million tons of steel annually to the U.S. tariff-free under the deal, as well as specialized types of steel that had already been granted exclusions from tariffs, which were expected to bring total steel imports from the EU to 4.4 million tons next year.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the EU had agreed to drop its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, which were set to be increased December 1, according to AP.

She also said that the deal would ensure that all steel that is exported to the U.S. from the EU would be made there.

Forbes has reached out to the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Commerce for comment.

Key Background

President Donald Trump placed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum from the European Union, Mexico and Canada in June 2018 under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, on the grounds of national security. In retaliation, the European Union levied duties on U.S. products including motorcycles and agricultural products worth $7.5 billion. However, in May the European Union opted to temporarily halt some of the tariffs to kickstart  negotiations over the trade dispute. 

Chief Critic

The United Steelworkers union, the Steel Manufacturing Association and other industry trade groups sent President Joe Biden a letter in May asking him to keep the tariffs in place, arguing that they were a necessity due to steel import surges driven by “global steel overcapacity” which “threatened our industry and the nearly two million jobs it supports.” They said the tariffs had helped “restart idled mills” and “rehire laid-off workers.”

Further Reading

Are Trump’s Steel And Aluminum Tariffs Good For America? (Forbes)

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