Background

The European Union will suspend a planned June 1 increase in tariffs on imports of U.S. goods designed to counter the U.S.’ Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum goods.

The U.S. imposed additional tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from the EU and most other countries after determining that imports of such goods were threatening its national security. However, both sides have acknowledged that the underlying problem is global excess steel and aluminum production capacity, and they announced May 17 the launch of talks that will seek to find solutions to this problem before the end of the year. These talks will include discussion of “the deployment of effective solutions, including appropriate trade measures, to preserve our critical industries” with the aim of holding “countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account.”

To ensure a constructive environment for these talks, the two sides “agreed to avoid changes on these issues that negatively affect bilateral trade.” Specifically, the EU said it would suspend for up to six months plans to add U.S. goods such as cosmetics and athletic shoes to the list of those subject to retaliatory tariffs and to increase existing tariffs on goods such as bourbon, motorcycles, and orange juice.

However, both the U.S. and the EU will retain their existing tariffs in this dispute while the talks are underway.

For more information on the section 232 tariffs and how to mitigate their impact, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson (at (202) 730-4956 or via email) or Kristen Smith (at (202) 730-4965 or via email).

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