Manufacturing groups say the agreement between the United States and European Union to ease tariffs on steel and aluminum will help reduce prices for the industry.
The Biden administration announced over the weekend that it had reached a deal with the EU in hopes of addressing supply chain issues and lowering the cost of certain goods. Federal officials reportedly said the agreement would retain steel and aluminum tariffs on European nations while allowing limited volumes of these metals produced in the EU into the United States without tariffs.
Tim Wiora, executive director and CEO of WMEP Manufacturing Solutions in Madison, says the agreement is expected to “help ease prices and stabilize them for some types of steel.” He said the move “will help, but is not the final answer,” as continued trade issues with China are having a more significant impact on manufacturers in Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee-based Association of Equipment Manufacturers says it welcomes the agreement, arguing the steel and aluminum tariffs have harmed the U.S. economy by increasing the price of production for agriculture and construction equipment and costing the industry thousands of jobs.
“This new agreement will help address steel shortages and soaring prices that have hurt equipment manufacturers, while also addressing overcapacity from China and preventing leakage of Chinese steel into the U.S. market,” said Dennis Slater, president of the international trade group. “We hope that both sides will build on the momentum from today’s agreement to remove the remaining obstacles to free and fair trade.”
Slater says Biden deserves “a lot of credit” for reaching an agreement that “while not perfect, goes a long way in restoring free and fair trade across the Atlantic.”
Along with easing U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, the agreement will also reportedly resolve retaliatory tariffs imposed by the EU on U.S. products including bourbon and motorcycles.
Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson, calls the agreement a “big win” for the company and its customers, employees and dealers in Europe.
“We are excited that this brings an end to a conflict that was not of our making, and in which Harley-Davidson had no place,” he said in a statement. “This is an important course correction in U.S.-EU trade relations that will allow us to further Harley-Davidson’s position as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.”
See the Harley-Davidson statement: https://investor.harley-davidson.com/news-releases/news-release-details/statement-harley-davidson-eu-tariff-resolution