This Morning in Metals: China exempts additional U.S. products from tariffs

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This morning in metals news, China on Thursday announced new tariff exemptions for U.S. products, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) advocated for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (AISI) and the World Trade Organization continues to look for a solution to its Appellate Body crisis.

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China exempts U.S. products from tariffs

In another sign of incremental easing of tensions, China on Thursday announced more exemptions from tariffs for U.S. products.

According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, the exemptions mark the second round of exemptions on the first round of tariff countermeasures imposed by China in response to the U.S. Section 301 investigation. The exemptions will be in effect from Dec. 26, 2019, through Dec. 25, 2020, according to Xinhua.

Earlier this month, the U.S. and China announced they had reached an agreement on a partial trade deal, which would see the U.S. pull back $160 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for increased purchases of U.S. agricultural goods.

AISI calls for USMCA approval

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) released a statement advocating for the House to ratify the USMCA.

“The USMCA will benefit steel producers in the United States by improving on the terms of NAFTA in several key respects,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of AISI. “By incentivizing the use of North American steel in the production of automobiles, auto parts, welded pipe and tube, and a number of other goods made primarily from steel through strengthened rules of origin and enhanced regional value content requirements, this agreement helps keep the steel industry manufacturing supply chain in North America strong.

“The USMCA also includes important provisions to promote increased cooperation and information sharing among the three North American governments to address circumvention and evasion of trade remedy orders. Such increased cooperation is essential to address more effectively the repeated surges of dumped and subsidized imports of steel products that have injured domestic steel producers in recent years.”

Earlier this month, the White House and House Democrats announced an agreement on revisions to the deal, which was already ratified by Mexico’s legislature earlier this year.

The House is expected to vote on the USMCA today.

Appellate Body deadlock continues

Earlier this week, we touched on the deadlock in the WTO’s Appellate Body, which has been unable to appoint new judges due to the U.S.’s obstruction; the body currently has only one member, which is not enough to make decisions on appeals (at least three members are needed to make rulings).

As such, countries can appeal rulings “into the void,” in essence sending cases to languish with the paralyzed Appellate Body.

In light of the crisis, WTO members have continued dialogue aimed at finding a solution.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

“A group of  WTO members once again issued a joint call to start the selection processes for filling Appellate Body vacancies,” a WTO release stated. “Speaking on behalf of the group, which now numbers 119 WTO members, Mexico said the considerable number of members submitting the proposal reflects a common concern over the current situation in the Appellate Body that is seriously affecting its workings as well as the workings of the overall dispute settlement system against the best interest of members. WTO members have a responsibility to safeguard and preserve the Appellate Body, the dispute settlement system and the multilateral trading system, Mexico said.”

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