EU aims to resolve US steel dispute by year end

BRUSSELS – The European Commission is aiming to reach an agreement on steel and aluminium with the United States by the end of the year to bring a definitive end to U.S. import tariffs on the metals, Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said on Thursday.

U.S. and EU negotiators failed to reach an agreement at a summit on Oct. 20 on measures to address overcapacity in non-market economies, such as China, and promote greener steel.

The Biden administration had suspended the tariffs on EU steel and aluminium imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018 on condition that a deal was reached by the end of October.

The United States has said it would roll over its tariff suspension beyond the end of the year if more time were needed, but Jourova, who oversees EU digital economy issues, said the Commission’s plan was to conclude talks by then.

“We have given ourselves an additional two more months to solve this and this is our objective,” she told the European Parliament in a debate about the EU-U.S. summit.

Many lawmakers expressed concern that the talks had dragged on without success, but Jourova said the two sides had made “important progress”.

The European Union is also seeking to secure an agreement with the United States on critical minerals under which electric vehicles using cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese or nickel mined or processed in the EU would qualify for U.S. tax breaks.

Jourova said the EU wanted to get an agreement “over the finishing line”, but gave no envisaged deadline.

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