US suspends tariffs on steel imports from Ukraine

The US on May 9 suspended for one year its 25% Section 232 tariffs on steel imports from Ukraine, noting the importance of that industry to Ukraine’s economy as the country continues to defend itself against Russia.

“We need to have their backs and support one of the most important industries to Ukraine’s economic well-being,” Commerce Department Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement announcing the tariff suspension. “For steel mills to continue as an economic lifeline for the people of Ukraine, they must be able to export their steel.

“Today’s announcement is a signal to the Ukrainian people that we are committed to helping them thrive in the face of Putin’s aggression,” she added.

Commerce said Ukraine’s steel industry employs one in 13 Ukrainians.

In a similar move, the European Commission proposed April 27 to suspend for one year its import duties on all Ukrainian exports to the bloc, according to a statement on its website. However, an official move has not yet been made.

Ukraine’s output of crude steel in 2021 rose 3.6% year over year to 21.4 million mt, according to the country’s steelmaking industry association Ukrmetallurgprom.

The US has not previously imported a significant volume of steel from Ukraine. Steel imports from Ukraine totaled 130,636 mt in 2021, less than 1% of the US’ 28.58 million mt overall steel import volume that year.

Since 2010, the US’ highest annual steel import volume from Ukraine reached 325,391 mt in 2011.

— Nick Lazzaro