US temporarily repeals tariffs on Ukraine steel

The US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has announced the temporary repeal of its Section 232 tariffs, for one year, on Ukrainian steel imports.

The US’s gesture may be more symbolic than strategic. The US only imported about 7,800 tonnes from Ukraine in 2021 through April, and about 40,000t this year in the same period. By comparison, the US imported 2.09 million tonnes and 2.06mt, respectively, through April in 2021 and 2022.

“Steelworkers are among the world’s most resilient—whether they live in Youngstown or Mariupol.  We can’t just admire the fortitude and spirit of the Ukrainian people—we need to have their backs and support one of the most important industries to Ukraine’s economic well-being. For steel mills to continue as an economic lifeline for the people of Ukraine, they must be able to export their steel,” Raimondo says.

It remains to be seen whether the US will begin to import more products from Ukraine given these new, more favourable terms for US importers.

“The US never imported much steel from Ukraine, so this should not have much impact on inventory. The biggest problem the mills in Ukraine will have is assuring potential buyers the orders will arrive when scheduled,” says a US service centre principal to Kallanish.

Raimondo’s statements discussed making opportunities for Ukraine steel mills, but did not outline specific security measures the US will take to be sure products can be safely distributed.

Kristen DiLandro USA