October 30 (UPI) – Biden administration officials said on Saturday they had reached a deal with their European Union counterparts to lift some Trump-era tariffs on steel and aluminum in exchange for lower tariffs on American products.
The deal was announced as President Joe Biden met with other world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Rome. The United States has agreed to allow “limited volumes” of EU steel and aluminum products duty-free, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told the Washington Post. As part of the deal, the European Union will drop retaliatory tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and other U.S. products.
Administration officials said the deal will facilitate a tightening of the supply chain that negatively affects manufacturing and distribution while resolving a conflict between the United States and the EU.
Former President Donald Trump imposed a tariff of 25% on European steel and 10% on aluminum in 2018 as part of his protectionist “America First” trade policy that has upset consumers. European allies.
But the Biden administration was slow to reverse its predecessor’s trade policies because tariffs have backing in the politically vital state of Pennsylvania. The Left-wing Economic Policy Institute said the tariffs created more than 3,000 jobs in the steel industry and Raimondo said they kept the workers employed, the Post reports.
Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, welcomed the deal in a statement. He said the agreement maintains a tariff quota that will prevent another increase in steel imports.
“We appreciate the Biden administration’s continued recognition that the US steel industry is essential to our national and economic security, as well as its commitment to addressing the global steel overcapacity crisis and combating trade practices. unfair trade in the global steel industry, ”Dempsey said.
Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, also welcomed the deal in a statement. He said that after the EU imposed tariffs, exports of US whiskey fell 37%, from $ 702 million to $ 440 million.
“The lifting of this tariff burden on American whiskeys not only stimulates American distillers and farmers, but also supports the recovery of EU restaurants, bars and distilleries hit hard by the pandemic,” he said, noting that Europe is the largest export market for American spirits. industry.
Once the dispute is settled, the US and EU agreed to work on a plan that tackles China’s excess steel production as well as carbon-intensive steel exporters, reports Politico.
However, Politico stressed that EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis called the deal on Twitter a “pause” in the dispute.