A Truce on Tariffs?

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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo; Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative; and European Commission executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis appear to have made a breakthrough in the negotiations of a trade war started during the Trump administration.

Dombrovskis confirmed the news in a tweet this morning that summarized a virtual meeting that took place last week.

“In our effort to reboot trans-Atlantic relations, EU will temporarily suspend the increase of its rebalancing measures on U.S. 232 steel & aluminum tariffs. This gives us space to find joint solutions to this dispute & tackle global excess capacity,” Dombrovskis tweeted.

Both sides released a joint statement that reads, in part:

“The leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the E.U. under Section 232.

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“They agreed that, as the United States and E.U. member states are allies and partners sharing similar national security interests as democratic, market economies, they can partner to promote high standards, address shared concerns and hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account.

“They committed to engaging in these discussions expeditiously to find solutions before the end of the year that will demonstrate how the U.S. and E.U. can address excess capacity, ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries and strengthen our democratic alliance.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said that since the retaliatory tariffs were put in place in 2018, U.S. boatbuilders have seen a 40 percent decrease in exports, with an estimated loss of more than $400 million in sales.

The news of the negotiations precedes next month’s U.S.-E.U. summit, President Biden’s first foreign trip as leader. The White House has said that trade cooperation will be a vital part of its agenda.

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