As EU & US leaders are about to turn a new page in their relationship and launch the transatlantic Trade & Technology Council, we want to stress the importance of resolving the Section 232 dispute once and for all, and of removing the tariffs which unfairly impact products and sectors unrelated to the source of the dispute.
Our organisations want to reiterate the critical importance of the transatlantic relationship for our sectors, the European economy & employment in Europe. We welcome the steps taken by both sides to seek to de-escalate the dispute in the last months – and particularly the EU’s decision not to impose the second tranche of rebalancing measures on 1 June. We fully support the common goal to reach a fruitful solution & thereby remove all remaining punitive tariffs by the end of November. The removal of all remaining rebalancing tariffs and the commitment not to impose new tariffs would provide a welcome boost to our sectors, many of which have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic and related economic slowdown.
Many of our sectors rely on open trade flows with the US as part of their production processes in the EU. For others, affected US goods are an essential and integral part of their portfolios, allowing them to invest in EU production & distribution and create local jobs and growth in the EU in the process. We call on President von der Leyen, Vice-President Dombrovskis and EU leaders to intensify their efforts towards a comprehensive and speedy resolution of this dispute, in order to support our members in their post-COVID recovery efforts and to help boost & accelerate investment in the EU. Securing the permanent removal of tariffs on unrelated sectors will also allow both sides to establish a positive transatlantic trade agenda and focus on common areas of interest, such as climate change, the digital agenda and reform of the WTO.
The joint release was issued by the following trade associations:
ACEM (European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers); CAOBISCO (Association of the Chocolate, Biscuits and Confectionery industries of Europe); CECIMO (European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and related Manufacturing Technologies); Cefic (European Chemical Industry Council); CEMA (European Agricultural Machinery Association); EuroCommerce; EBI (European Boating Industry); FEC (Federation of European manufacturers of Cookware and cutlery); FRUCOM (European Federation of the trade in dried fruit, edible nuts, processed fruit & vegetables and processed fishery products); spiritsEUROPE.
Notes to editors:
In April 2017, the US Commerce Department launched an investigation on the impact of the import of aluminium and steel for US national security, which lead to the imposition of a 25% import duty on steel from all foreign producers and 10% on aluminium from 23 March, 2018. EU officials introduced counterbalancing measures on US products on 20 June 2018. The new import duty on affected US products first applied on 22 June 2018. Under this implementing regulation, the Commission introduced a clause whereby a second trance of rebalancing measures would apply from 1 June 2021, in the absence of a satisfactory solution before then. On 17 May 2021, the European Commission announced the EU had agreed with the US to suspend the second tranche of rebalancing measures in the ongoing steel and aluminium dispute. On the same day, 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 15 June 2021, EU & US leaders formally agreed to engage in discussions to allow the resolution of existing differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium before the end of the year. Since then, both sides have expressed a willingness to find a solution by the end of November 2021. In the absence of a resolution of the dispute or decision to postpone their entry into force, the second tranche of EU rebalancing measures would be in force from 1 December 2021.