US iron and steel executives expect Section 232 measures to remain in place amid negotiations with the EU

Earlier this month, the US and EU pledged to work together to address the challenges of Title 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.

But US steelmakers and industry groups do not expect metal tariffs to disappear entirely without another trade measure, industry leaders said at a news conference hosted by the Iron and Steel Industry Association on June 30.

“We’re in talks with the EU to try to find a workable solution here, but you can’t just end [Section 232 tariffs] without replacing them with something,” said Philip Bell, president of the Steel Producers Association. “The EU itself has extended its guarantees for another three years, so it would be very unreasonable to expect that the US will not have something to replace the 232s and … this must be something that prevents the growth of imports. ”

Bell said he applauds the administration of President Joe Biden for a “very balanced, all-out government approach” to the 25% import tariffs on steel that former President Donald Trump imposed in March 2018.

“I really think we will see some kind of breakthrough,” Bell said of bilateral talks with the EU. “We need the EU’s help because they have to deal with their own overcapacity and they also need to help us deal with global overcapacity.”

While the Biden administration has pledged to negotiate with the EU, there is no commitment to lifting tariffs by the end of this year, according to Kevin Dempsey, CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute.

In addition, the Biden administration is committed to maintaining a viable steel industry in the US, and that won’t happen if tariffs are lifted, Dempsey said.

“Until we address this global overcapacity problem caused by foreign government subsidies, we face the threat of recurring import surges,” he said. “Whenever there is a surge in demand, as we have seen in the past, excess steel will rush to the most open market, and therefore it is very important to maintain effective measures to prevent new surges.”

Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lorenko Gonsalves said that while tariffs are in effect indefinitely, Section 232 was never meant to remain in effect forever, but the problems that led to its implementation will not go away until solutions are found. global problems. excess steel capacity.

“Section 232 was a time frame; an emergency measure was put in, and rightfully so, to stop the bleeding, and then let’s get organized and see where the problem really is, ”said Gonsalves. “The problem is now quite obvious, it is overcapacity, it starts in China but does not end in China.”

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