Writing to US President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the letter asks for the retaliatory tariffs on products unrelated to steel and aluminium to be permanently removed at the upcoming Presidential Summit in October.
Back in 2018, in retaliation against US tariffs on EU steel and aluminium, the EU imposed a 25% tariff on US$7.5bn worth of US products, including apparel. This was temporarily suspended in 2021 and is currently due to end in January 2024.
The AAFA says between 2018 and 2021, its industries, suppliers, and supply chains were “severely impacted by the imposition of tariffs in disputes wholly unrelated to our sectors” and applauded te agreements reached to suspend the retaliatory tariffs in 2021.
The open letter says this temporary agreement provided “important relief” for the sectors affected, helping support economic recovery after Covid-19.
But concerns are growing about the return of the tariffs in January along with a second tranche of tariffs.
The signatories, which include 85 organisations representing affected industries, are now asking for the retaliatory tariffs to be permanently removed on all products unrelated to steel and aluminium – as well as WTO Large Civil Aircraft, which also has a tariff suspension, currently due to expire in 2026.
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The letter says: “At a time of increased geopolitical tensions and volatility, the permanent removal of tariffs on unrelated sectors will support efforts to grow the transatlantic economy and enable our sectors to play a full part in addressing global challenges.”
The signatories added that they “stand ready” to support the EU and US efforts.
The news comes shortly after the US apparel sector urged the US government and private sector to work together to keep imports and exports moving ahead of a potential US government shutdown on 1 October 2023 due to a budgetary stand-off.