WASHINGTON — The U.S. and European Union have agreed to modify elevated steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on imports from the EU during the Trump administration under Section 232 of Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
Under the agreement, 25% tariffs will remain in place on steel and aluminum imported from European nations, but the U.S. will allow a certain volume of those materials to be imported tariff-free starting Jan. 1, 2022.
The agreement with the EU follows more than a year of skyrocketing materials and shipping costs that resulted from the global COVID-19 pandemic, and offers relief and support for American companies, according to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
"In the past year, the cost of steel used by America's auto and appliance manufacturers has more than tripled, creating increased costs for consumers," Ms. Raimondo said.
"Today's news will provide much-needed relief for those workers and industries, the workers and businesses who were threatened with overwhelming retaliatory tariffs of 50% and American consumers, who are worried about increasing prices."
In a statement issued Oct. 30, Tom Conway, United Steelworkers International president, praised the new agreement, saying it protects American jobs, allows for global competition and remains focused on China's unfair trade practices.
"This new arrangement, which will maintain but modify Section 232 measures on steel and aluminum from the EU, will create a framework that will ensure U.S. domestic industries remain competitive and able to meet our security and infrastructure needs," he said.
" ... As we look to the future of our industries and jobs, it will be vital to rein in global overcapacity, stemming largely from Chinese Communist Party's state-led trade practices," Mr. Conway added. "Engaging with our allies is a necessary step in this process, and this arrangement offers a path forward toward working together to address this larger concern."
Citing the need to protect the U.S. steel industry and steel workers, then President Donald Trump administration ordered the imposition on March 8, 2018, of a 25% tariff on most steel imported into the U.S., and a 10% tariff on most imported aluminum.
At the same time, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and 10 USTMA member companies urged Mr. Trump to amend the order on steel tariffs in light of the tire industry's need for high-quality imported steel, for which there was no domestic capacity.