Biden lauds Steelworkers’ aid in solving U.S.-Europe steel/aluminum tariff dispute


Rome (PAI) – President Joe Biden has publicly thanked the Steelworkers, and union President Tom Conway, for helping him solve the festering U.S.-European dispute over Trump administration tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. In return, Europe dropped its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

“Today I was proud to announce, together with our close EU partners, another critical win for both American workers and the climate agenda,” Biden told reporters in Rome after the G7 summit of the world’s economic leaders there.

“The United States and the European Union agreed to negotiate the world’s first trade agreement based on how much carbon is in a product, as we negotiated the steel and aluminum tariffs that were in place,” he said.

“We made the agreement and, I might add, (with) strong support of the U.S. Steelworkers back home. And I want to thank them. I want to thank Tom Conway, who I spoke to today, president of the United Steelworkers, for his partnership in arriving at this deal.”

The tariffs will be eliminated on European steel and aluminum imports no higher than 2017-18 levels, and then be 25 percent above that, the Steelworkers said. Trump slammed all steel imports with tariffs of 25 percent or more, regardless of carbon content or where they came from.

The higher Trump tariffs were aimed at China, which produces more than half the world’s steel and massively subsidizes it, undercutting western producers. It also uses coal for its steel mills, helping China lead the world in gross tons of carbon pollution, which causes climate change.

But Trump’s tariffs angered the U.S.’s European trading partners and the Steelworkers said at the time the tariffs should not be levied in Europe, but against steel-dumping nations.

U.S Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo noted the lack of environmental standards in places like China is part of what drives down their costs, and is a major contributor to climate change.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the first-ever carbon-based arrangement on steel and aluminum trade will create greater incentives for reducing carbon intensity across modes of production of steel and aluminum made by American and European companies.

“The U.S. and the EU both produce steel and aluminum that is ‘cleaner’ than what is produced in much of the world,” she said.

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