The European Union has agreed to lift retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports in exchange for getting tariff-free access for some steel and aluminum shipments to America, the Biden administration announced on Saturday.
The deal will bar transshipment through the EU of steel and aluminum produced in China or other third countries, administration officials said.
The EU also agreed to negotiate a separate agreement with the United States on rules that will limit the carbon intensity of steel and aluminum that is traded.
The Trump administration used the president’s Section 232 authority to impose duties in 2018 on European steel and aluminum, and the EU responded with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. corn, rice and other commodities.
The dispute has been particularly important to corn growers because of a 25% duty the EU imposed.
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the agreement was "welcome news" for producers.
"While the dispute centered around steel and aluminum, farmers were swept up in the turmoil as the EU clamped down on U.S. agricultural exports like orange juice, butter, cheese, pork, nuts and many more. It’s crucial that we now restore those trade relationships," he said.
Announcement of the deal came as President Joe Biden was in Rome for a meeting of G-20 leaders ahead of the international climate conference in Glasgow.
Biden “has said that one of his the key goals of his presidency is to demonstrate that democracies can deliver results for their people, especially working people, and solve the challenges of the 21st century. And two of the greatest of those challenges are the threat of climate change and the economic threat posed by unfair competition by China,” said Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.
“Today’s deal with the EU delivers on that promise by making headway on both fronts.”
U.S. Trade Representative Katharine Tai told reporters the agreement will tighten enforcement mechanisms “to prevent leakage of Chinese and other unfairly traded steel and aluminum into the U.S. market.”
She said the carbon rules the U.S. and EU will negotiate will “create greater incentives for reducing carbon intensity across modes of production of steel and aluminum produced by American and European companies.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., welcomed the latest agreement. “Working together, the U.S. and EU can successfully fight back against China’s predatory economic policies and ensure American workers succeed," he said in a statement Saturday.
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