The Department of Commerce announced Monday that the United States will temporarily lift the Section 232 tariffs placed on Ukrainian steel as a means of supporting the country as it fends off Russia's invasion.
The Biden administration estimates that 1 in 13 Ukrainians are employed by the steel industry, and Monday's action suspends the 25% tariffs placed on Ukrainian steel for one year.
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DOC noted in a Monday press release that "Ukraine's steel communities have been among those hardest hit by Putin's barbarism, and the steel mill in Mariupol has become a lasting symbol of Ukraine’s determination to resist Russia’s aggression."
“Steelworkers are among the world’s most resilient — whether they live in Youngstown or Mariupol. We can’t just admire the fortitude and spirit of the Ukrainian people — we need to have their backs and support one of the most important industries to Ukraine’s economic well-being," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo added in a statement. "For steel mills to continue as an economic lifeline for the people of Ukraine, they must be able to export their steel. Today’s 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."
Monday's announcement comes as President Joe Biden and his top advisers are weighing significant shifts to the Trump administration's stiff tariffs.
Former President Donald Trump placed 25% and 10% tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum, respectively, which key Biden allies have called on the president to roll back as he seeks to strengthen U.S. relations with European countries.
The Trump administration's China tariffs, another hotly debated topic, are under review as U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai seeks to reframe the U.S.-China commercial relationship.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to Tai on Monday in which he urged the administration not to end the Trump-era policies.
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"China repeatedly violates the rules of international trade and unapologetically steals and cheats in its economic relationship with the United States," he wrote. "To cut tariffs at this juncture would be a strategic blunder."