The Biden administration said on Tuesday that it would roll back Trump-era tariffs on British steel and aluminum, moving to resolve a trans-Atlantic trade clash that had soured relations with a key ally.
Under the agreement, the United States will allow a certain volume of metals from the United Kingdom to be imported duty-free starting June 1. In return, Britain agreed to lift tariffs on more than $500 million worth of American whiskey, bluejeans, motorcycles and other products, removing barriers imposed on U.S. exports during the trade spats of the Trump administration.
The announcement, which came at the conclusion of two days of trade talks between British and American officials, removed some of the last remaining vestiges of the trans-Atlantic trade clashes of the last few years.
The European Union — which included the United Kingdom until 2020 — imposed the tariffs on American products as retaliation for the levies that former President Donald J. Trump placed on foreign steel and aluminum in 2018. Post-Brexit, the United Kingdom maintained many of those tariffs on American goods.
Biden administration officials, particularly Katherine Tai, the United States trade representative, have worked over the last year to scale back many of those barriers, believing that the United States should focus its energy on countering economic rivals, not fighting with allies.
During two days of meetings in Baltimore that kicked off a new trade dialogue, American and British officials pledged to advance policies that would deepen their partnership and would benefit workers and the environment. Officials also said they would continue to cooperate on measures to penalize President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for that country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Under the agreement, British steel and aluminum that is imported into the United States must be entirely smelted and cast in the United Kingdom to escape tariffs, to prevent cheap steel from China and other countries from finding a backdoor into the U.S. market. In addition, any British steel company owned by a Chinese entity must audit their financial records to assess influence from the Chinese government and share those results with the United States, the Biden administration said.
American and British officials also said semifinished products containing aluminum from China, Russia or Belarus would not be allowed to come into the United States duty-free.
Restrictions still apply: If shipments of steel and aluminum from Britain exceed certain levels, they will be taxed at the existing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and the 10 percent.
As part of the agreement, the United States and Britain will also continue to confer on “market-distorting influence or ownership” in the steel and aluminum industries.
The United States said it would send a trade delegation to Britain for further talks soon.
The deal “delivers on President Biden’s vision to repair relationships with our allies while also helping to ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminum industries, the communities they support, and most importantly, the workers in these industries on both sides of the Atlantic,” Ms. Tai said in a statement.
The Russia-Ukraine War and the Global Economy
Rising concerns. Russia’s invasion on Ukraine has had a ripple effect across the globe, adding to the stock market’s woes and spooking investors. The conflict has already caused dizzying spikes in energy prices, and could severely affect various countries and industries.
The cost of energy. Oil prices already were the highest since 2014, and they have continued to rise since the invasion. Russia is the third-largest producer of oil, so more price increases are inevitable.
Gas supplies. Europe gets nearly 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and it is likely to be walloped with higher heating bills. Natural gas reserves are running low, and European leaders worry that Moscow could cut flows in response to the region’s support of Ukraine.
Food prices. Russia is the world’s largest supplier of wheat; together, it and Ukraine account for nearly a quarter of total global exports. Countries like Egypt, which relies heavily on Russian wheat imports, are already looking for alternative suppliers.
Shortages of essential metals. The price of palladium, used in automotive exhaust systems and mobile phones, has been soaring amid fears that Russia, the world’s largest exporter of the metal, could be cut off from global markets. The price of nickel, another key Russian export, has also been rising.
Financial turmoil. Global banks are bracing for the effects of sanctions intended to restrict Russia’s access to foreign capital and limit its ability to process payments in dollars, euros and other currencies crucial for trade. Banks are also on alert for retaliatory cyberattacks by Russia.
Thomas M. Conway, the international president of United Steelworkers, said the union supported the agreement and that it was “an important step in addressing systemic problems like illegal dumping and global overcapacity that threaten the vitality and future of our steel and aluminum industries.”
Chris Swonger, the chief executive of the Distilled Spirits Council, said that American distillers were “cheering the end of this long tariff nightmare.” According to the group, American whiskey exports to Britain had declined by 42 percent since 2018, when the tariffs were imposed.
“With the removal of the U.K.’s debilitating retaliatory tariffs on American Whiskey exports, U.S. distillers are ready to fire up the stills,” he added.
The two countries did not profess their intention to complete negotiations that began during the Trump administration for a free-trade agreement. British leaders had lauded the potential deal as an independent step for their economy after departing the European Union and have pushed the Biden administration to take up negotiations.
But the Biden administration has shown little appetite for adopting the Trump administration’s goals, saying instead that the trade dialogue with the United Kingdom should explore “mutual international trade priorities rooted in our shared values, while promoting innovation and inclusive economic growth.”
The coming dialogue will address issues like trade and investment involving small businesses, the digital economy, durable supply chains, and protecting labor rights and the environment, the Biden administration said.