EU, US agree truce over Trump steel tariffs

The EU and US issued on Monday a joint statement to announce the beginning of a collaboration to tackle global steel and aluminium excess capacity.

The move is the first concrete one towards the ending of existing disputes started with the imposition of US Section 232 measures in 2018.

“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,” European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo say in the statement seen by Kallanish.

The first result of this new collaboration was the decision to avoid implementing new trade barriers negatively affecting bilateral trade. Section 232 measures remain in place at this stage, but the EU, for example, is suspending the planned doubling of retaliatory measures on some US goods.

The EU and the US have now committed to find solutions before the end of the year, to address excess capacity and ensure long-term visibility for the steel and aluminium industries.

When Section 232 measures were imposed by the Trump administration on steel and aluminium, Europe was among the most important US trade partners that did not reach a bilateral agreement to limit their impact. The latest announcement marks a first step towards a real trade truce between the EU and the US, and could lead to important changes in existing trade measures going forward.

Emanuele Norsa Italy