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US suspends tariff on steel from Ukraine in show of economic support

Azovstal iron and steel factory, Mariupol, Ukraine (Chad Nagle/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States has announced the suspension of import taxes on steel from Ukraine in a show of support for the country’s economy during the Russian invasion.

The Commerce Department said on May 9 that it would withdraw the 25 percent tariffs for a year.

Some of Ukraine’s largest steel-producing operations have been among the hardest hit during the war, including the Azovstal factory in 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 said 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,” she added.

The 25 percent tariff on steel was imposed in March 2018 to protect domestic industry, although a handful of countries were exempted.

Lawmakers and business leaders have been calling on President Joe Biden to remove the duties to help ease the economic blow to the Ukrainian economy.

Raimondo said the move was “a signal to the Ukrainian people that we are committed to helping them thrive in the face of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression.”

Ukraine accounts for only about 1 percent of U.S. steel imports, according to the Commerce Department.