Biden cancels Trump’s metals tariffs on the European Union

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WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced on Saturday it had reached a deal to lower tariffs on European steel and aluminum, a deal that officials said would lower the costs of goods like cars and machinery. wash, reduce carbon emissions and help move supply chains forward. again.

The deal, which comes as President Biden and other world leaders meet at the Group of 20 summit in Rome, aims to ease transatlantic trade tensions that had escalated under former President Donald J. Trump, whose administration initially imposed the tariffs. Mr Biden has made it clear that he wants to reestablish relations with the European Union, but the deal also appears to be carefully crafted to avoid alienating the American unions and manufacturers who have backed Mr Biden.

It leaves some protections in place for the US steel and aluminum industry, turning the current 25% tariff on European steel and the 10% tariff on aluminum into a so-called quota. tariff, an arrangement in which higher levels of imports are met. higher duties.

The deal will end retaliatory tariffs the European Union had imposed on American products, including orange juice, bourbon and motorcycles. It will also avoid additional tariffs on U.S. products that were due to go into effect on December 1.

“We expect this deal to ease the supply chain and reduce cost increases as we lift tariffs by 25% and increase volume,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

Ms Raimondo, in a briefing with reporters, said the deal has enabled the United States and the European Union to establish a framework for taking carbon intensity into account when producing steel and aluminum, which could allow them to manufacture “cleaner” products than those produced in China.

“China’s lack of environmental standards is part of what drives their costs down, but it’s also a major contributor to climate change,” Ms. Raimondo said.

Tariffs were imposed on dozens of countries, including those in the European Union, after the Trump administration determined that foreign metals posed a threat to national security.

Mr Biden pledged to work more closely with Europe, which he described as a partner in efforts to tackle climate change and compete with authoritarian economies like China. But it has come under pressure from US metal manufacturers and unions not to remove trade barriers entirely, which has helped protect the domestic industry from a glut of cheap foreign metal.

The deal marks the final step for the Biden administration in dismantling Mr. Trump’s transatlantic trade war. In June, U.S. and European officials announced the end of a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies for Airbus and Boeing. At the end of September, the United States and Europe announced a new partnership for trade and technology, and earlier this month they reached an agreement on global minimum taxes.

Under the new terms, the European Union will be allowed to ship 3.3 million tonnes of steel per year to the United States duty-free, while any higher volume would be subject to a 25% tariff, according to people. familiar with the agreement. Products that were excluded from tariffs this year would also be temporarily exempt.

The deal will also impose restrictions on products finished in Europe but using steel from China, Russia, South Korea and other countries. To benefit from duty-free treatment, steel products must be entirely manufactured in the European Union.

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

Metalworking unions in the United States hailed the deal, which they said would limit European exports to historically low levels. The United States imported 4.8 million tonnes of European steel in 2018, a level that fell to 3.9 million in 2019 and 2.5 million in 2020.

In a statement, Thomas M. Conway, president of United Steelworkers International, said the agreement “would ensure that US domestic industries remain competitive and able to meet our security and infrastructure needs.”

Mark Duffy, chief executive of the American Primary Aluminum Association, said the deal would “maintain the efficiency” of Mr. Trump’s tariffs, “while allowing us to support continued investment in the US aluminum industry. primary aluminum and create more aluminum jobs in the United States. “

He said the arrangement would support the US aluminum industry by limiting duty-free imports to historically low levels.

Other countries remain subject to US tariffs or quotas, including Great Britain, Japan and South Korea. The US Chamber of Commerce, which opposed tariffs on metals, said the deal did not go far enough.

Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce, said the deal would offer “some relief to US manufacturers suffering from soaring steel prices and shortages, but additional measures are needed. required”.

“The US should drop the unfounded accusation that metal imports from the UK, Japan, Korea and other close allies pose a threat to our national security – and drop tariffs too and quotas, ”he said.

Katie rogers brought back from Rome.


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