US Section 232 Steel Tariffs Temporary Exemption Provided for the EU

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US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, speaking in Congress today confirmed that the EU, alongside Korea, Brazil, Australia and Argentina would be provided with a temporary one month exemption from the 25% steel tariffs due to come into force tomorrow morning. It is believed that the month long exemption is required to continue detailed discussion between the US and these countries/blocs to arrive at an alternative agreement in order to avoid the tariffs more permanently.

 

It should be noted that the removal of the tariffs on the EU may still mean that, alternatively, quotas (at 2017 levels) are put in place instead. The intention of the tariffs is to increase US production by some 10 million tonnes and reduce imports by a similar amount. The total exports of all the countries so far provided with an exemption (including NAFTA) come to 22 million tonnes out of the total of 35 million. Even if imports from the exempt countries remain at 2017 levels, the US would need to prevent the imports of all other steel in order to hit its domestic production targets. There also remains a great deal of uncertainty about whether the EU will ultimately be able to provide the US with sufficient concessions to convince it to provide a permanent exemption. Trump has clearly voiced concerns previously about EU tariffs on cars, if this proved a key negotiating aim from the US it is difficult to see the EU even entering into discussions on the subject.

See UK Steel's full statement below.

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