Biden extends EU steel, aluminum tariff exemption for 2 years

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday extended the suspension of tariffs on European Union steel and aluminum for two years to continue negotiations on measures to address overcapacity and low-carbon production.

The United States suspended import tariffs of 25% on EU steel and 10% on EU aluminum for two years from January 2022, replacing the tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump with a tariff rate quota (TRQ) system.

EU tariffs, imposed in retaliation, covered a range of U.S. goods from Harley Davidson motorcycles to bourbon whiskey and power boats. Those have also been shelved until 2025, after elections on both sides of the Atlantic.

The United States and the European Union had been seeking agreement measures to address excess metal production capacity in non-market economies, such as China, and to promote greener steel. The discussions were supposed to be resolved by 2023 but had stalled.

In a presidential proclamation, Biden said the two sides had made “substantial progress” and were “continuing their discussions.”

The TRQ allows up to 3.3 million metric tons of EU steel and 384,000 tons of aluminum into the United States tariff-free, reflecting past trade levels, with the tariffs applying for any further amounts. The new exemption applies through December 31, 2025.

Biden kept tariffs fixed at the current level for non-EU countries.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Kanishka Singh and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese and Alistair Bell)