The Biden administration has announced that it will lift tariffs on Ukrainian steel for one year, halting a measure that US president Donald Trump placed in 2018.
The move comes as the Biden administration looks for ways to assist Ukraine during the Russian invasion. Ukraine is a fairly minor supplier of US steel, shipping about 218,000 metric tons in 2019, to rank 12th among America’s foreign suppliers. However, the sector is a significant source of economic growth and employment for Ukraine, and steel mills have continued to provide pay checks, food and shelter for their workers through the war.
When prime minister Denys Shmyhal of Ukraine visited Washington last month, he told administration officials that some Ukrainian steel mills were starting to produce again after initially shutting down because of the invasion. According to a senior commerce department official, he then asked the Biden administration to suspend the tariffs.
The United States imposed a 25% tariff on foreign steel and a 10% tariff on foreign aluminium three years ago on national security grounds, arguing that a flood of cheap metal had decimated American manufacturing and posed a threat to its military and industrial capacity.
“[This] announcement is a signal to the Ukrainian people that we are committed to helping them thrive in the face of Putin’s aggression, and that their work will create a stronger Ukraine, both today and in the future.”Gina M. Raimondo, US commerce secretary
“For steel mills to continue as an economic lifeline for the people of Ukraine, they must be able to export their steel,” Gina M. Raimondo, the commerce secretary, said in the announcement. “[This] announcement is a signal to the Ukrainian people that we are committed to helping them thrive in the face of Putin’s aggression, and that their work will create a stronger Ukraine, both today and in the future.”
The move is one of a variety of economic measures aimed at penalizing Russia and assisting Ukraine. Those include a broad swath of sanctions on Russian entities, export controls that have limited Russian imports and $3.8 billion in arms and equipment for the Ukrainian government, in addition to other direct financial assistance.
Source: The New York Times