The U.S. will grant the European Union and some other countries a temporary exemption from aluminium and steel tariffs, averting a trade war with key allies as the Trump administration tailors penalties to target China.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that the Trump administration would temporarily exempt some countries "based on a certain set of criteria" from steel and aluminum tariffs while they negotiate with the United States.
In addition to the EU, those exempt are Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea, Lighthizer said. President Donald Trump had already granted exemptions to Mexico and Canada when he signed the tariffs earlier this month.
"There are countries with whom we're negotiating and the question becomes the obvious one that you think, as a matter of business, how does this work? So what he has decided to do is to pause the imposition of the tariffs with respect to those countries," Lighthizer said.
Trump's tariffs had sparked outrage among European officials, who lobbied hard for an exemption, citing the continent's long-standing military alliance and close economic ties to the United States.