Biden administration announces easing of some tariffs on EU steel, aluminum


The Biden administration announced Saturday it struck a deal with the European Union (EU) to ease some tariffs on steel and aluminum that were enacted amid trade tensions during the Trump administration.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in prepared remarks that the U.S. had "reached an historic agreement with the European Union" that "allows limited volumes of EU steel and aluminum to enter the U.S. tariff-free."

She said the deal would keep certain American goods, including Kentucky bourbon and Harley-Davidson vehicles, from being hit with retaliatory tariffs, which she noted were set to increase to 50 percent in December.
 
Raimondo noted that the agreement would reduce certain costs for consumers and American manufacturers and provide some relief to the supply chain crisis.
 
"By agreeing to this framework, we are protecting American jobs, we are showing that clean manufacturing can be good for business and consumers, we are creating more incentives for steel and aluminum consumers to purchase American and European products, and we are helping the planet," Raimondo said, according to her prepared remarks.
 
Industries impacted by the Trump-era tariffs celebrated the news on Saturday.

"Lifting this tariff burden on American Whiskeys not only boosts U.S. distillers and farmers, it also supports the recovery of EU restaurants, bars and distilleries hit hard by the pandemic," Distilled Spirits Council President and CEO Chris Swonger said in a statement. 

"With the removal of these EU tariffs, we are energized and ready to ramp up our American Whiskey promotions in the EU to re-introduce America’s native spirits to EU consumers and resume a great American export success story," Swonger added.
 
The president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Jochen Zeitz, called the news "an important course correction in U.S.-EU trade relations" in a statement.
 
The news comes as the Biden administration reverses tariffs that the Trump administration previously placed on the European Union. In 2018, then-President Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union.
 
In retaliation, the EU said it would impose tariffs against American goods in response, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Kentucky bourbon and jeans. 
 
Trump also sought to impose tariffs against the European Union on other goods, such as airplane parts, cognac and wine. However, some industries harshly rebuked Trump for imposing tariffs against certain products, saying doing so would hurt their businesses.
 
"We are extremely disappointed that the U.S. has announced it will impose more tariffs on additional categories of imports of EU distilled spirits in connection with the civil aircraft subsidy disputes, including certain Cognacs and other non-grape brandies," the Distilled Spirits Council said in December.
 
"Hospitality businesses and our consumers, as well as producers, wholesalers and importers of distilled spirits are collateral damage in a dispute wholly unrelated to the drinks business," the group added. 

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