U.S. says agreed with Japan to resolve Trump-era steel tariffs issue

Feb 08 , 2022. 3 hours ago – 07:26 KYODO NEWS

WASHINGTON – he United States said Monday it has agreed with Japan to resolve a trade irritant over steel tariffs imposed during the previous administration under Donald Trump, granting relief from the extra duties to a certain amount of imports.

Although Japan was seeking the removal of the tariffs, which have been in place since 2018, the administration of President Joe Biden has only agreed to an introduction of a tariff-rate quota in an apparent effort to protect the American steel industry.

Under a deal to take effect on April 1, up to an annual 1.25 million metric tons of steel — the average amount of Japanese steel imported into the United States in 2018 and 2019 — will be allowed to enter the country duty-free.

The move comes as the Biden administration is working to rebuild alliances that it believes have been undermined by Trump’s unilateralist foreign and trade policy, under which imports from trade partners such as Japan and the European Union were slapped with additional duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

The latest deal will “help us rebuild relationships with our allies around the world as we work to fight against China’s unfair trade practices and create a more competitive global economy for America’s families, businesses and workers,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The agreement did not cover aluminum tariffs, Biden administration officials said.

The two countries have been seeking to resolve the tariff issue after Japan’s trade and industry minister Koichi Hagiuda and Raimondo agreed on the launch of negotiations in November.

In October, the Biden administration reached an agreement with the EU to end the Trump-era tariff rift, with the U.S. side allowing a certain quantity of European steel and aluminum to enter duty-free and the EU suspending retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products.