EU Trade Chief Says Time Running Out to Fix U.S. Steel Spat
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s trade chief warned that only about a month remains to resolve a metals dispute with the U.S., and failure to do so means new EU tariffs will hit American products on Dec. 1.
“Allowing for internal decision-making procedures in the EU, we really need an agreement already by the beginning of November,” EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said Tuesday on Bloomberg Television. “We are now working very intensively to resolve this Trump-era steel and aluminum dispute,” Dombrovskis said. “Time is, in a sense, running out.”
Dombrovskis is meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to discuss the conflict that started in 2018 when the Trump administration imposed tariffs steel and aluminum from the bloc. Late Tuesday, Dombrovskis told reporters that the EU is open to looking at steel and aluminum separately, but that both metals need to be resolved in the same timeline.
Washington instituted a 25% duty on steel imports along with a 10% tariff on inbound aluminum shipments using an arcane national-security provision in a 1962 trade law.
The EU retaliated against the U.S. steel and aluminum measures by targeting 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of American imports with tariffs on a range of big-brand products, including Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey.
Hard-hit by the retaliatory duties, the U.S. alcohol industry sent a letter on Tuesday to Raimondo and Tai urging the Biden administration to secure the immediate suspension of the tariffs.
The application of the duties “is having a devastating impact for U.S. exporters,” said the Toasts Not Tariffs coalition, a group of 50 associations representing the entire three-tier chain of the industry.
It noted that U.S. whiskey exports to the EU have fallen 37% since the tariffs started in 2018, and by 53% to the United Kingdom. It also asked the administration to ensure the U.K. does not impose additional tariffs on U.S. wine.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.