The United States and the European Union have announced they have begun discussions to “address global steel and aluminum excess capacity” and have suspended tariffs imposed on their goods while the talks proceed.
The joint statement was issued Monday by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, following virtual talks last week.
From his Twitter account, Dombrovskis thanked Raimondo and Tai, saying the agreement “gives us space to find joint solutions to this dispute” before the end of the year.
The dispute came to a head in 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, calling the imports a threat to U.S. national security.
Europe retaliated by raising tariffs on U.S.-made motorcycles, bourbon, peanut butter and jeans, among other items.
In their joint statement Monday, U.S. and EU officials said their discussions will center around distortions to the market caused by excess capacity, where companies produce less of a product than they are capable of in order to manipulate the price and demand. The talks will also focus on the threats excess capacity poses to the U.S. and EU steel and aluminum industries.
Both sides reaffirmed they 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.”
U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with EU leaders in mid-June to discuss bolstering ties after the bloc’s rocky relationship with the Trump administration.