Brussels [Belgium], May 18 (ANI): The European Union (EU) and the United States have announced the start of discussions to resolve trade dispute around steel and aluminium, while addressing the market distortions caused by China.
In a tweet, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the European bloc will temporarily suspend tariffs on steel and aluminium exports.
"In our effort to reboot transatlantic relations, EU will temporarily suspend the increase of its rebalancing measures on U.S. 232 steel & aluminium tariffs. This gives us space to find joint solutions to this dispute & tackle global excess capacity," he tweeted.
According to Euronews, the trade dispute dates back to the administration of former US President Donald Trump who, in March 2018, decided to slap extra tariffs on EU exports of steel and aluminium entering the United States. The duties were set at 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium.
As a result, the EU imposed extra duties on a list of US imports worth 2.8 billion euros. The targeted products included steel, aluminium, peanut butter, whiskey, motorcycles and jeans.
The bloc was supposed to add 3.6 billion euros in retaliatory charges next month to fully offset the effects of the Trump tariffs but the scheduled increase has now been temporarily suspended in order to give dialogue a chance to succeed, Euronews reported.
A joint statement was issued by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, US Secretary of Commerce Gina M Raimondo, and Dombrovskis announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminium excess capacity.
On the same occasion, the US and EU also said they can partner to hold countries like China that "support trade-distorting policies to account".
The joint statement said that: "They agreed that, as the US and EU Member States are allies and partners, sharing similar national security interests as democratic, market economies, they can partner to promote high standards, address shared concerns, and hold countries like China that support trade-distorting policies to account."
The comes as tensions between the western countries and China have escalated in recent months over a range of issues.
In March, the United Kingdom, Canada, EU and the US teamed up to slap sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights violations in Xinjiang, a sign that the Biden administration plans to use alliances to counter an increasingly assertive China.
China also retaliated swiftly to the European sanctions, banning 10 European individuals and four entities and associated individuals from entering the country, including Macau and Hong Kong. The sanctions by Beijing have left China's investment agreement with Europe in tatters. (ANI)