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U.S. and E.U. announce new partnership & tariff lift

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On the sidelines of the Group of 20 Summit, European Union officials and the Biden administration brokered a deal that will ease tariffs on E.U. steel and aluminum imports into the United States. For agriculture, this deal also resulted in eliminating retaliatory duties from the E.U. on several U.S. goods, including U.S. Corn. A new partnership was also announced that will tackle the global challenges of sustainability and climate change.

Recognizing the importance of the transatlantic relationship, the United States will adjust the tariffs on steel and aluminum to allow duty-free trade at a sustainable historic level and the EU will suspend its retaliatory tariffs.

“This is an important step for America’s corn farmers and a step toward restoring our trading relationship with the European Union,” said NCGA President Chris Edgington. “We were dragged into a trade dispute that did not involve us, and we are highly appreciative of the Biden administration for this development.”  

In May of this year, the Biden administration announced the start of discussions with the E.U. to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity, which originally prompted the U.S. to apply tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports under the authority of Section 232. This action was met by the E.U. imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports, including a 25% tariff on U.S. corn. Under the new deal, the U.S. agreed to provide a duty-free quota for European steel and aluminum while keeping the Section 232 tariffs in place for any steel or aluminum shipped in excess of the quota, maintaining a minimum level of protection for American-made steel and aluminum.

“As farmers, we feed and fuel the world,” said Edgington. “When our crops are used as a bargaining chip, everyone loses.” 

More details on the agreement can be found on USTR’s factsheet here.

In addition to the tariff lifts, the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and United States Secretary of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a newly created transatlantic collaboration platform on agriculture designed to take on the global challenges of sustainability and climate change.

“Today we begin a new chapter in EU-U.S. collaboration with a new platform for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EU Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development to exchange knowledge and information, and to promote mutual understanding and trust, as we work together to address global challenges and achieve common goals.

“We are reaffirming our mutual commitment to sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production, recognizing that we are both engaged in multiple, effective ways to achieve mutually desired outcomes.

“We believe that, science and innovation will bring about a more sustainable agriculture. We must work together to devise systems and solutions that are good for agricultural producers, good for consumers, good for businesses, good for our communities, and good for our planet. This includes fair and open markets at the local, regional, and international levels that bolster food security and sustainable food systems.

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