Biden Strikes Deal to Ease Trump-Era Tariffs on European Aluminum and Steel at G20 Summit

The Biden administration struck a deal with the European Union (EU) on Saturday to ease tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on steel and aluminum imports, an agreement that will resolve strained trade relations and lower the cost of cars and other metal goods.

The Trump administration imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in 2018 in an effort to bolster domestic industries. Under the new agreement, the EU will be able to send a limited volume of steel and aluminum to the U.S. duty free.

"Today's announcement delivers on President Biden's vision to turn the page on past disputes and begin a new chapter of enhanced trans-Atlantic relations," said U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Both sides see the easing of tariffs—which came after months of negotiations between U.S. trade officials and their European counterparts—as a clear signal that the Biden administration intends to strengthen relations with its longtime ally and begin a new phase following four years under a hostile Trump presidency.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the deal removes "one of the largest bilateral irritants in the U.S.-EU relationship."

Biden metal tariffs European Union Trump G20
The Biden administration struck a deal with the European Union (EU) on Saturday to ease tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on steel and aluminum imports. Above, (L-R) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Joe Biden, pose for the media prior to a meeting at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit on October 30th, 2021 in Rome, Italy. Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images

However, EU Trade Commission Valdis Dombrovskis suggested that the agreement may not be a permanent solution, describing it as a "pause" on the steel and aluminum trade dispute in a tweet.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo lauded the agreement while making clear that the Trump-era tariffs will still be maintained.

"We've reached an agreement with the EU which maintains the 232 tariffs but allows limited volumes of EU steel and aluminum to enter the US territory," she told reporters. "We've also agreed to work together with the EU to use trade tools to fight global excess capacity of steel and aluminum to address carbon intensity, which is a huge milestone in our fight against climate change."

The U.S. will also maintain and pursue regulations to block China from "routing cheap steel into the U.S. via Europe and other markets," Raimondo added.

U.S. manufacturers that work with steel and aluminum praised the announcement on Saturday.

"This is an important course correction in U.S.-EU trade relations, that will allow us to further Harley-Davidson's position as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world," Jochen Zeitz, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, said in a statement.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for further information.