On Monday, the White House issued proclamations (here and here) implementing tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union in accordance with the agreement reached between the two sides earlier in the year.
Aiming to improve transatlantic relations that had been strained over the former administration’s contentious Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, the U.S. and EU last October agreed to adopt an alternate approach, replacing them instead with tariff-rate quotas and ending the EU’s retaliatory tariffs.
Under the new TRQ arrangement, historically-based volumes of EU steel and aluminum products will enter the U.S. market without the application of Section 232 tariffs to meet the demands of downstream users.
The TRQ for steel is set at 3.3 million metric tons, and the TRQ for aluminum is set at 18,000 metric tons for unwrought aluminum products and 366,000 metric tons for semi-finished “wrought” aluminum.
Derivative articles of steel and aluminum, as defined here, will not be subject to Section 232 duties, and items excluded under the Section 232 exclusion process will not count toward the TRQ.
In order to benefit from this alternate arrangement, however, steel products must be melted and poured in the EU, and aluminum products from the EU must be accompanied by a certificate of analysis.
In his proclamation, President Biden also instructed his administration to renew all exclusions — granted due to a lack of domestic availability — that were utilized to import steel products tariff-free from the EU in the fiscal year 2021 for a period of two calendar years (Dec. 27, 2023).
The American Iron and Steel Institute welcomed the president’s action while noting that “proper implementation and enforcement of the TRQ will be crucial to preventing another steel import surge that would undermine our industry and destroy good-paying American jobs.”
The trade association also welcomed a direction to the Commerce Secretary to initiate a regulatory review of the Section 232 exclusions process that will include a focus on enhanced consultations with U.S. companies and labor organizations.
AISI said it “looks forward to working with the administration to seek improvements in the exclusions process to ensure that only those steel products truly not available domestically are exempted from the Section 232 measures.”