EU, U.S. start talks that could end Trump steel tariffs

An employee at the Bardstown Bourbon Company seals a barrel after it was filled with bourbon in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — The European Union and United States are to start talks to address the steel tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump.

In a joint statement Monday, U.S. and European trade representatives said they were looking “to find solutions before the end of the year” that will address the overcapacity in the steel sector.

This issue has weighed on the trans-Atlantic relationship for more than two years.

The United States imposed a 25% tariff on European steel and 10% tariff on aluminum in June 2018 on the grounds of national security.

The EU contested the move from the start and after multiple failed attempts to reach a deal with the Trump administration, the bloc took the case to the World Trade Organization and imposed retaliatory measures on up to 6.4 billion euros ($7.78 billion) of U.S. exports. The EU’s targeted products included Bourbon whiskey, peanut butter and orange juice.

Of this amount, the EU first targeted 2.8 billion euros of U.S. exports and said it would apply the remaining 3.6 billion euros three years later or after a positive result at the WTO. This second tranche of tariffs was expected to come into force next month.

The European Commission confirmed on Monday that it was temporarily suspending those additional tariffs as talks proceed over a possible deal.

“Our joint aim is to put an end to the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU,” a spokesperson for the European Commission said Monday.


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