The European Union and the United States have announced the start of discussions to resolve their trade dispute around steel and aluminium — while at the same time address the market distortions caused by China.
The trade dispute dates back to the administration of former US President Donald Trump who, in March 2018, decided to slap extra tariffs on EU exports of steel and aluminium entering the United States. The duties were set at 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium. According to the European Commission, this represents €6.4 billion worth of trade.
As a countermove, the EU imposed extra duties on a list of US imports worth €2.8 billion. The targeted products included steel, aluminium, peanut butter, whiskey, motorcycles and jeans.
The bloc was supposed to add €3.6 billion in retaliatory charges next month to fully offset the effects of the Trump tariffs but the scheduled increase has now been temporarily suspended in order to give dialogue a chance to succeed.
In a joint statement signed by European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the leaders vowed to work together to find “effective solutions that preserve our critical industries”.