US and EU reach deal on steel tariffs

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

China finds itself stuck in the middle after the US and EU put aside their differences on steel tariffs.


The US and the EU have put aside their long-standing differences in order to come to an agreement over steel and aluminum tariffs, it has been announced.

Levies were imposed by former American president Donald Trump in 2018 that meant duties of up to 25 percent were applied to metals entering the country from other nations. This led to worldwide condemnation and threats of retaliatory action.

However, following meetings between Joe Biden's administration and EU officials, the taxes between these two parties will be reduced. Although US section 232 tariffs of 25 percent on steel and ten percent on aluminum imports are to be maintained, 'limited volumes' will be allowed to cross US borders duty-free.

It is not yet clear what these volumes will be, and an additional caveat is that the metals must be produced entirely in EU countries.

EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis said on Twitter the bloc has "agreed with US to pause" the trade war and begin cooperation on a new future arrangement.

It means a raft of retaliatory tariffs due to come into effect on US goods such as bourbon whiskey and motor boats on December 1st 2021 will now be scrapped.

However, there was an ulterior motive in rebuilding these bridges: confronting China's policy of producing huge amounts of excess steel and flooding global markets with cheap imports.

Mr Biden said the US and EU are simply seeking ways to reduce imports of "dirty steel" and incentivize carbon emission reductions in a famously fossil fuel-hungry industry, but the move has already been condemned by Beijing as a direct attack on its economy.

A spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in Washington told the Financial Times: "How the US develops its economic and trade relations with the EU is its own business. But it should not make an issue of China or even attempt to form a clique against China."