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GOP Rep. Kevin Brady has lots of issues with the Biden administration. Tariffs isn't one off them

·Senior Producer and Writer
·2 min read
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Over the weekend the Biden administration announced a deal with the European Union to ease tariffs on steel and aluminum. The deal, announced at the G20 summit in Rome, also aims to “prevent leakage of Chinese steel and aluminum into the U.S. market.” Biden officials said some tariffs will remain, but "limited volumes" of metal from the EU will now be able to come into the United States duty-free.

“I think it's a pretty important step here on those tariff goods,” Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) told Yahoo Finance. “It strengthens our relationship with Europe.”

The negotiations were led by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who previously served as Chief Trade Counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee.

Brady, Republican leader on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he wants even fewer trade restrictions in the years ahead. “I want to see less of both managed and tariffed trade,” he said. In a statement over the weekend, Brady was supportive but offered a light criticism of the restrictions that remain: “I am concerned that this replaces some portion of our tariffs with enormously complex managed trade that could make it difficult for markets to adjust to changing conditions going forward.”

Other Republicans like Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey have also offered hedged praise for the trade deal, underscoring how the trade issue has avoided becoming a party line issue.

In 2018, then-President Trump imposed the tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, claiming the foreign products were a threat to U.S. national security, using the Article 232 section of U.S. trade law to justify the tariffs. The United States' European allies were outraged and some countries imposed counter-tariffs on U.S.-made products including motorcycles, bourbon, and jeans.

At the time, Brady offered muted criticism of the deal by praising moves to lift the tariffs when it came to Canada and Mexico and urging the then-Trump administration to “go further to narrow these tariffs so they hit the intended target.”

This weekend’s announcement still leaves the issue of the U.S. trade relationship with China on the table. The Biden administration is reportedly debating a range of next steps to take when it comes to China and trade but so far has largely opted to keep Trump-era tariffs in place.

Brady promised more on the trade topic in the months ahead including likely hearings with Ambassador Tai.

Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

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