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Biden suspends tariffs on Ukraine steel for one year

Biden suspends tariffs on Ukraine steel for one year
The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, is pictured on May 21 after a months-long siege by Russian forces ended as Ukrainian troops began to surrender last week. Photo by Alessandro Guerra/EPA-EFE

May 27 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Friday signed a proclamation suspending tariffs on steel from Ukraine for one year amid the Russian invasion, but he did not amend tariffs on steel products.

The tariffs had been imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018 at the request of former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who had said that the amount of steel imported from Ukraine threatened the national security of the United States.

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"Ukraine's steel industry has been significantly disrupted by the Russian Federation's unjustified, unprovoked, unyielding, and unconscionable war against Ukraine," Biden said in the proclamation.

"The significant disruption in Ukraine's steel production is expected to decrease the total amount of steel produced by Ukraine as well as the amount of steel imported into the United States from Ukraine, which in 2021 accounted for less than 1% of all steel imports into the United States."

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Biden noted that the steel industry has been "historically important to Ukraine" and said the United States "has an interest in maintaining that industry as an economic lifeline while the country recovers."

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"The ongoing discussion is anticipated to include alternative measures to prevent imports of steel from Ukraine from threatening the national security of the United States as Ukraine's steel production recovers from the significant disruption caused by the war," Biden said.

Biden said that current Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will "monitor the situation in the domestic steel industry and developments in Ukraine's steel industry" and inform him of any need to terminate or extend the suspension.

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Ukrainian troops had taken refuge at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol for weeks while fending off Russian troops there until most of the remaining ones began to surrender last week.

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