Section 232 tariffs removed on EU steel and aluminum imports

Under a new agreement reached by the U.S. and EU, Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs will end and be replaced with a new tariff rate quota (TRQ). At the same time, the U.S. and EU also announced a Global Sustainable Steel Agreement to address steel and aluminum overcapacity and climate change by 2024. According to the White House, “Steel and aluminum production are two of the most carbon-intensive industrial sectors, accounting for roughly 10 percent of all carbon emissions. The agreement will drive investment in green steel production.”

The agreement requires EU steel and aluminum to be entirely produced in the bloc form, or melted and poured, to qualify for duty-free status. The requirement aims to prevent metals from China and non-EU countries from being minimally processed in Europe before being exported to the United States.

“While the tariff rate quota isn’t the best outcome we would have preferred, it does let more steel into the U.S. market tariff free,” said Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, vice president, regulatory and technical affairs.

Reuters reported that the agreement allows 3.3 million tons of steel per year to enter the U.S. market tariff free. Additionally, steel exclusions from the U.K. will be given a two-year extension.

“This approach to eliminating metal tariffs while also addressing climate change is consistent with the Biden administration’s agenda,” said Christine Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg. “It’s likely we’ll see it elsewhere.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) also announced consultations between the U.S. and the U.K. Japan and South Korea to address an approach to ending Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on those countries.

“NAFEM will continue to press for complete terminations of the Section 232 tariffs,” said Souhrada.