U.S, EU business groups push for steel deal, minerals drive at summit

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The largest U.S. and EU business federations urged leaders meeting for a summit on Friday to resolve a lingering dispute over Trump-era metals tariffs and increase cooperation on minerals critical to the green transition.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope made the call on Monday, before U.S. President Joe Biden hosts European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel in Washington.

The EU will seek to ward off the return of import tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump and to agree a deal that benefit EU exporters of critical minerals to the United States.

“Concerns about anemic economic growth and misinformed narratives about industrial decline are giving rise to increased protectionism,” the two business groups wrote, adding that protectionist policies threatened to impede innovation and stifle prosperity.

The two groups urged EU and U.S. officials to reach a durable agreement to prevent any U.S. reimposition of metals tariffs and EU retaliation, while addressing the challenges of global excess capacity and carbon emissions in metals production.

The groups also pressed the transatlantic partners to cooperate with countries holding significant reserves of critical minerals in order to reduce dependencies on one country. In many cases, that one country is China.

Global mining firms, they said, would have to increase production of critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel and rare earths by 500% over the next decade to advance the green transition.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by David Evans)