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U.S., EU reach truce, agree to negotiate end to Trump-era tariffs on metals

By
Don Johnson
Former President Donald Trump's administration imposed a 25% tariff on European steel and 10% tariff on aluminum in 2018, citing national security concerns. File Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/EPA-EFE
Former President Donald Trump's administration imposed a 25% tariff on European steel and 10% tariff on aluminum in 2018, citing national security concerns. File Photo by Jeff Kowalsky/EPA-EFE

May 17 (UPI) -- U.S. negotiators and the European Union have agreed to discuss ending steel and aluminum tariffs that began a retaliatory trade dispute three years ago under former President Donald Trump, officials said Monday.

In a joint statement, both sides said they have agreed to temporarily suspend tariffs in the dispute as talks begin toward a permanent deal by the end of the year. The EU agreed to temporarily suspend additional tariffs on U.S. products, such as bourbon whiskey and fruits, that was set to take effect next month.

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The Trump administration imposed a 25% tariff on European steel and 10% tariff on aluminum in 2018, citing national security concerns. The move was part of Trump's "America First" trade policy.

After failed attempts to reach a deal with Trump's administration, the EU took the case to the World Trade Organization and imposed retaliatory tariffs of up to about $8 billion. A second round of tariffs were set to take effect in June.

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In their joint statement, the U.S. Trade Representative and the European Commission acknowledged the tariffs' impact on the steel and aluminum industries and said they stemmed from "global excess capacity driven largely by third parties."

Both sides said they will seek to "hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account."

The United States and EU said they're committed to engaging discussions "expeditiously to find solutions before the end of the year" that will ensure "long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries, and strengthen our democratic alliance."

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U.S. President Joe Biden will make his first overseas trip in June to meet with EU leaders.

The White House announced last month that Biden will attend international summits during the trip, including the G-7 summit in Cornwall, Britain, from June 11-13 and the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14. While in Brussels, Biden also will participate in a U.S.-EU summit.

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