On August 21, 2020, the United States and the European Union (EU) agreed to tariff reductions on several products unrelated to ongoing trade disputes involving Section 232 national security tariffs on aluminum and steel products and retaliatory tariffs under the WTO dispute involving large commercial aircraft. In a Joint Statement issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the EU will eliminate tariffs on imports of U.S. live and frozen lobster products, valued at over $111 million in 2017. The EU tariffs will be eliminated for five years, and the European Commission will initiate procedures to make the reduced tariff rate permanent. The United States will reduce by 50% its tariff rates on a range of products exported by the EU, worth an average annual trade value of $160 million, including certain prepared meals, certain crystal glassware, surface preparations, propellant powders, cigarette lighters and lighter parts. Both the United States and the EU have agreed to make the tariff reductions retroactive to August 1, 2020.
“As part of improving EU-US relations, this mutually beneficial agreement will bring positive results to the economies of both the United States and the European Union. We intend for this package of tariff reductions to mark just the beginning of a process that will lead to additional agreements that create more free, fair, and reciprocal transatlantic trade,” said Ambassador Lighthizer and Commissioner Hogan. Details on the specific products and tariff reductions are expected soon.