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EU trade enforcers say that the Trump-era dispute settlement between the EU and the United States over steel and aluminum tariffs may not remove all barriers to protect these industries.
Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Union’s executive vice-president for trade policy, said that although the “ideal solution” is the mutual suspension of tariffs reached by the two sides in this year’s Boeing-Airbus dispute, he Ready to see “other possible solutions”.
In an interview with the British Financial Times, Eastbrovskys said: “We understand the willingness of the United States to protect its steel industry, but of course there are ways to do this in a way that is less destructive to EU producers. .”
EU in May Plan on hold Raising tariffs on a range of American products is aimed at resolving a deadlock with Washington that dates back to 2018, when Donald Trump imposed high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe and other economies.
The measures taken by the then President of the United States were controversial based on the national security grounds of Article 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which was a reason for a close strategic ally who was angered in Europe.
The EU retaliated with its own tariffs. But Joe Biden’s entry into the White House this year prompted a renewed effort to improve transatlantic trade relations. In June, the two sides reached a consensus Major breakthrough With the settlement of a separate 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies.
The removal of Section 232 tariffs is politically painful for the President of the United States because their politically strong steel industry and factory states are popular, including Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, which will be in the next election. Intense competition.
Dombrovskis is expected to visit Washington this fall to hold talks with colleagues including U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on a range of trade topics.
He stated that negotiations with the United States on Article 232 tariffs are on a “constructive track.” The ideal solution is to “completely withdraw” Article 232 measures without taking any other measures.But he said that the EU is “ready to examine [at] Other solutions, understand that the United States is also interested in protecting its steel industry”.
He said that these measures need to be less destructive to EU producers and respect historical trade volume. “Indeed, the steel industry is highly protected in the United States and the European Union,” he said, including the use of anti-dumping and countervailing measures.
Dombrovskis did not disclose what this alternative solution might look like. However, one possibility may be some kind of licensing or supervision arrangement that allows EU exporters to control access to the US market.
The United States can also propose some form of export quota, although the EU has ruled out this possibility. Or it can choose to convert Article 232 tariffs into “safeguard measures” designed to deal with the sudden influx of imported goods, although these are difficult to comply with the rules of the World Trade Organization.
The two sides have now decided to find a solution by early December, which is also to solve the oversupply of steel caused by production in countries including China-this is not easy to achieve.
The discussion of Article 232 tariffs is part of a broader effort by the United States and the European Union to strengthen transatlantic relations after the pain of the Trump era.
One of the outcomes of the EU-US summit held in Brussels last month was the establishment of a new trade and technology committee aimed at promoting cooperation in key technologies.
Dombrovskis said that the goal of both parties is to establish 10 working groups in a range of areas and decide which topics to prioritize.
He said that key issues include 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, additive manufacturing and robotics, as well as investment screening and supervision of Internet platforms.