EU suspends increasing counter measures against US metal tariffs

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The European Union (EU) has decided to temporarily suspend the increase of its counter measures against the additional tariffs the United States has imposed on the imports of steel and aluminium products, European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Monday.

Dombrovskis said on twitter the move, which was taken in an effort to "reboot transatlantic relations", would offer "space to find joint solutions to this dispute & tackle global excess capacity."

Dombrovskis, along with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity, according to a joint EU-U.S. statement issued on Monday.

The statement said they had acknowledged, during a virtual meeting last week, "the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries, and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU under section 232."

The three said they were committed to engaging in discussions expeditiously to find solutions before the end of the year.

Citing national security concerns, the former U.S. President Donald Trump administration unilaterally imposed a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports globally in 2018, drawing strong opposition domestically and abroad.

After failing to reach a deal with the Trump administration, the EU took the case to the World Trade Organization and imposed retaliatory tariffs on a range of American products, including Bourbon whiskey. The second tranche of tariffs was expected to be in effect in June.

The EU was meant to revise the tariffs on June 1 but this revision has now been put on hold. (1 euro=1.215 U.S. dollars)

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