The United States and the European Union have agreed to end a dispute over US steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018 and 2020. This new agreement eliminates a source of friction in the transatlantic relations and a spike in the EU retaliatory tariffs will be avoided.
Following the United States’ announcement that it will remove section 232 tariffs on EU steel and aluminium export up to past trade volumes, the EU is now taking steps to suspend its rebalancing measures against the United States. The elimination of Europe’s rebalancing measures will end the retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products including bourbon whiskey, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and motor boats. The presidents have also agreed to pause their WTO disputes over the issue.
Under this new deal, the EU will be allowed to ship 3.3 million metric of tons of steel per year to the U.S. duty free. From then on, the 25% tariff will apply. The previous arrangement, imposed by Donald Trump, consisted of a blanket 25% tariff on European steel and a 10% tariff on aluminium. This new agreement will leave some protections in place for the American steel and aluminium industry.
In June 2018, the US adopted safeguard measures that cause a tariff increase in relation to imports of certain derivative aluminium and certain derivative steel products, and further tariffs in January 2020. The EU introduced rebalancing measures in June 2018 on US exports to the EU and a similar response followed the second set of US tariffs in 2020. The remaining measures were scheduled to enter into force on 1 June 2021. The EU already suspended these measures in order to work together on a longer-term solution. After this announcement, the measures will not be introduced.