On May 17, 2021, the United States and European Union (EU) issued a Joint Statement agreeing to discussions in an effort to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity. In their statement, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis acknowledged the impact of this excess capacity, which they stated was driven mostly by third parties (e.g., China), and the threat that such distortions cause on the market-oriented U.S. and EU steel and aluminum industries. Recognizing their shared security interests, the United States and EU will seek a “mutual resolution of concerns” and the “deployment of effective solutions, including appropriate trade measures” to preserve their steel and aluminum industries. They also agreed to avoid any changes that “negatively affect bilateral trade.”
As a result, the EU announced that its members will not increase retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. goods originally implemented in response to Trump administration tariffs placed on EU steel and aluminum products under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. These EU tariffs were scheduled to double from 25% to 50% at the end of June 2021.