European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity on 17 May 2021. During a virtual meeting, the leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries, and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU under section 232.
Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis, Ambassador Tai, and Secretary Raimondo acknowledged the impact on their industries stemming from global excess capacity driven largely by third parties. The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to the market-oriented EU and U.S. steel and aluminum industries and the workers in those industries.
They agreed that, as the United States and EU Member States are allies and partners, sharing similar national security interests as democratic, market economies, they can partner to promote high standards, address shared concerns, and hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account.
They agreed to enter into discussions on the mutual resolution of concerns in this area that addresses steel and aluminum excess capacity and the deployment of effective solutions, including appropriate trade measures, to preserve our critical industries. To ensure the most constructive environment for these joint efforts, they agreed to avoid changes on these issues that negatively affect bilateral trade.
As the Commission introduced a provisional safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products in July 2018, the measure aimed to prevent economic damage for EU steel producers, given the risk of further import increases linked to the introduction of trade restrictions by the US on steel products. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) welcomes the negotiations that are centred on overarching principles: stronger multilateral action and trade and pursuit of common interests.
Finally, they committed to engaging in these discussions expeditiously to find solutions before the end of the year that will demonstrate how the U.S. and EU can address excess capacity, ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries, and strengthen our democratic alliance.
Source: European Commission Press Corner