Background

The U.S. and the European Union announced Aug. 21 “the first U.S.-EU negotiated reductions in duties in more than two decades.” The two sides said they intend this package “to mark just the beginning of a process that will lead to additional agreements that create more free, fair, and reciprocal transatlantic trade.”

 

According to a joint statement, the EU will eliminate its tariffs on imports of live and frozen lobster products. The EU imported $111 million worth of such goods from the U.S. in 2017, but press reports note that figure has subsequently decreased after Brussels started importing more lobster from Canada under a bilateral trade agreement.

 

In return, the U.S. will reduce by 50 percent its tariff rates on some prepared meals, crystal glassware, surface preparations, propellant powders, cigarette lighters, and lighter parts. The joint statement said U.S. imports of covered goods from the EU are valued at about $160 million annually.

 

Both sets of tariff reductions will be made on a most-favored-nation basis and will be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2020. The EU measures are slated to remain in effect for five years but the European Commission will promptly initiate procedures aimed at making the tariff change permanent.

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