The Biden administration issued a statement today regarding a “renewed transatlantic partnership” with the European Union, following a summit between US President Joe Biden and EU leaders.
In addition to addressing COVID-19 and climate change-related cooperation, the statement said the US is committed to growing US-EU trade while upholding and reforming the rules-based multilateral trading system through a new US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TCC).
The statement also indicated trade representatives from the US and EU will work to “resolve tensions” arising from Section 232 tariffs. The statement said the US is committed to ensuring the long-term viability of its steel and aluminum industries and to address global excess capacity.
In response to the statement, Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), said that addressing the stated trade challenges will “require the implementation of new and effective measures to eliminate government subsidies and other market distorting policies in many countries that have contributed to the ongoing global steel overcapacity crisis.”
Dempsey said that while such changes in government policies around the world “will take time and will not be easy to achieve, it is essential that the United States maintain strong and effective trade measures to prevent surges in steel imports from around the world that could quickly undermine the US industry and our national security.”
The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU) also released a response to the US-EU statement, saying that while the US and EU made some progress during the summit to resolve long-standing trade disputes, the coalition is “disappointed” that leaders did not come to an agreement on a timeline to end the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.
“We reiterate the urgency of terminating these tariffs imposed under the previous Administration while discussions continue on how best to address China’s over supply of steel and aluminum. We also note that any working group or stakeholder involvement in the discussions must include US industrial users of steel and aluminum,” CAMMU said.
“The 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum should have never been applied to our allies in the first place,” CAMMU’s statement continued. “They have only served to increase the costs of goods manufactured in America compared to overseas competitors who can simply import the finished product to the US, and thus continue to erode the ability of the US manufacturing sector to compete and survive in the global market. Record high prices, shortages and delays in delivery for steel and aluminum are rippling throughout downstream industries, disrupting supply chains and threatening the economic security of American workers.”
CAMMU said it is urging the Biden administration to terminate the Section 232 tariffs “as quickly as possible before more damage is done to the manufacturing sector and the economy.”