EU & US Move to End Steel Tariff Dispute
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EU & US Move to End Steel Tariff Dispute

The EU and US took a step towards a post-Trump trade truce, agreeing to hold talks to end feud over steel and aluminium tariffs. European Commission

The EU and US took a step towards a post-Trump trade truce, agreeing to hold talks to end feud over steel and aluminium tariffs. European Commission Executive Vice President Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, United States Trade Representative Ms Katherine Tai and US Secretary of Commerce Ms Gina M Raimondo announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminium excess capacity. During a virtual meeting last week, the leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the US application of tariffs on imports from the EU under section 232. They acknowledged the impact on their industries stemming from global excess capacity driven largely by third parties. The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to the market-oriented EU and US steel and aluminium industries and the workers in those industries. They agreed that, as the United States and EU Member States are allies and partners, sharing similar national security interests as democratic, market economies, they can partner to promote high standards, address shared concerns, and hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account.

They agreed to enter into discussions on the mutual resolution of concerns in this area that addresses steel and aluminium excess capacity and the deployment of effective solutions, including appropriate trade measures, to preserve our critical industries. To ensure the most constructive environment for these joint efforts, they agreed to avoid changes on these issues that negatively affect bilateral trade. They committed to engaging in these discussions expeditiously to find solutions before the end of the year that will demonstrate how the US and EU can address excess capacity, ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminium industries, and strengthen our democratic alliance.

The peace offering is the latest chapter in a row that began in June 2018 when then US president Mr Donald Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10 percent on aluminium from Europe, Asia and elsewhere. EU responded with counter-tariffs on 2.8 billion euros worth of iconic US products, including bourbon whiskey, jeans, orange juice and Harley-Davidson motorbikes. The EU was planning to increase those counter-tariffs on June 1 but, given the easing of tensions with the Biden administration, will now refrain from doing so.

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