The United States has made new proposals to resolve the trade dispute with the European Union over steel. The Americans want to replace the existing 25 and 10 percent tariffs on steel and aluminium with import quotas.
Washington is making more concessions as a deadline for an agreement approaches, Bloomberg news agency writes based on insiders.
The tariffs date from the time when Donald Trump was president of the US. He invoked national security legislation to bring them in on steel and aluminium from virtually all over the world, including the EU. Brussels then imposed counter-levies. If there is no agreement on 1 December, new European taxes on American products will automatically take effect.
The US still wants to limit the import of European steel. They, therefore, propose linking import duties to quotas. A certain amount of steel and aluminium can cross the border at a favourable rate, but everything above that has higher import costs at customs. So the quota for which favourable rates apply would be increased.
According to Bloomberg sources, the EU is studying plans ahead of European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and US trade envoy Katherine Tai next week. The two met this week during a G20 meeting about trade-in Sorrento, Italy.
The European Commission has always strongly condemned Trump’s tariffs. “As a trusted ally of the US, the EU cannot be seen as a threat to US security,” writes a spokesman for the daily EU administration. “Nor is the EU the cause of the global steel and aluminium oversupply.”
The EU and US both regularly complained about overcapacity in the global steel and aluminium market. It is said to have been facilitated by Chinese metal companies that overgrew and made cheap steel with state aid.