What did the US and the EU agree on in steel and aluminum?

Starting January 1, 2022, the European Union will be able to export duty-free 3.3 million tons of steel, 18,000 tons of raw aluminum and 366 tons of semi-finished (forged) aluminum to the United States.

Any export above those levels will be subject to the higher tariff levels applied under Section 232.

In addition to the general quotas, each of the three TRQs is divided into subcategories (54 product categories for steel, two and 14 categories for raw and wrought aluminum), applied annually, administered quarterly for steel and biannually for aluminum, and are assigned by member state for the 27 countries of the European Union.

According to the agreement, explained in an analysis by the US Congress, the United States will review and may adjust the tariff quotas annually.

At the same time, steel imports must be “melted and dumped” into the European Union so that non-European Union countries cannot avoid tariffs by exporting through that community bloc.

Products derived from the European Union, currently subject to tariffs under Section 232, will be exempt.


Also, the product exclusion process will remain in effect, allowing US importers to request tariff exclusions for certain products; Such imports should not count towards TRQ limits and the exclusions will not expire until the end of 2023.

The two-year time limit adds a level of uncertainty.

As part of the agreement, the European Union pledged to suspend its retaliatory tariffs on a variety of American exports, including American whiskey and motorcycles, effective January 1, 2022.

Furthermore, the parties agreed to continue to cooperate on trade solutions and customs issues. This will allow officials to provide mutual assistance, monitor bilateral trade, and share information and best practices on topics such as fraud detection.

Thus, on October 31, 2021, the United States and the European Union announced a multifaceted agreement to address US tariffs on steel and aluminum on exports from the European Union, imposed by the Trump Administration under Section 232, and the European Union’s retaliatory tariffs on certain US exports.

Although the United States negotiated several tariff exemptions with Brazil, South Korea, Argentina, Australia, Mexico and Canada, it has fully maintained tariffs on European Union exports since June 1, 2018.


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