“For steel mills to continue to be an economic lifeline for the people of Ukraine, they must be able to export their steel. Today’s announcement is a signal to the people of Ukraine that we are committed to helping them prosper. in the face of Putin’s aggression, and that their work will create a stronger Ukraine, both today and in the future,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a written statement.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on the United States to lift those tariffs during his meetings at the White House in April, and some members of Congress have also urged the administration to lift U.S. tariffs on Ukrainian steel.
The move appears to be mostly symbolic. While Ukraine is a major global steel exporter, the United States imported just 130,649 metric tons of steel in 2021, according to the International Trade Administration.
The Commerce Department’s decision comes a day after the United States unveiled a new round of punitive sanctions and export controls against Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and G7 leaders held a virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In 2018, the Trump administration imposed tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum in an attempt to prop up these industries, although this move at the time was also chastised by critics. U.S. makers of steel and aluminum products, saying it would cost jobs and raise consumer prices.
Since President Joe Biden took office last year, his administration has methodically reversed some tariffs imposed under the Trump administration as it tries to strengthen US ties with its allies. Last year, the United States reached negotiated agreements with Japan and the European Union on the reduction of tariffs on steel.