EU, US end steel, aluminium dispute, take aim at China’s ‘dirty’ steel

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The United States and the European Union on Sunday ended a dispute over steel and aluminium tariffs and said they would work on a global arrangement on steel and aluminium to combat “dirty” production and overcapacity in the industry.

“The United States and the European Union have reached a major breakthrough that will address the existential threat of climate change while also protecting American jobs and American industry,” US President Joe Biden said.

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Speaking at a joint news event with European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of a G20 leaders’ meeting in Rome, Biden said the deal with the EU immediately removed tariffs on EU steel and aluminium that were imposed by Donald Trump’s administration in 2018.

In response, the EU removed tariffs on US products like whiskey, power boats and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, imposed in retaliation for the steel and aluminium tariffs.

Rather than just a simple return to the status quo from 2018, the United States and the European Union plan to also address the existential threat of climate change and production overcapacity in the steel industry, one of the biggest CO2 emitters in the world.

“The global arrangement will add a powerful new tool in our quest for sustainability, achieving climate neutrality, and ensuring a level playing field for our steel and aluminium industries,” von der Leyen said.

The global deal is to be worked out over the next two years to promote “green” steel and aluminium production and will be open to all countries that want to join, including China, whom the EU and United States blame for excess global steel production capacity and “dirty” production technology.

Biden said the global arrangement would restrict access to US markets for “dirty” steel from countries such as China and counter steel dumping practices from other nations.

“The Global Arrangement will seek to ensure the long-term viability of our industries, encourage low-carbon intensity steel and aluminium production and trade, and restore market-oriented conditions,” the EU Commission said in a statement.

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