NEMA and FME Joint Statement Calls for Trans-Atlantic Free and Fair Trade in Steel, Aluminum

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) President and CEO Kevin Cosgriff and FME President Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink of the Netherlands issued the following joint statement to their respective governments addressing Trans-Atlantic trade relations in the context of proposed import tariffs for steel and aluminum.

“The National Electrical Manufacturers Association in the U.S. and FME, the Dutch employers’ organization for technology industries, recognize and reiterate the importance of trans-Atlantic trade and investment. Accordingly, we call on our respective governments to reach mutual accommodations with respect to global fair trade in steel and aluminum. For U.S. electrical manufacturers, import from the Netherlands of certain types of steel not made in the USA is of crucial importance. Therefore we call on the U.S. government to permanently exempt the EU from the recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum.”

“Trans-Atlantic trade and investment remain as a great economic relationship in the world. The EU and the U.S. economies together account for about half of the entire world output and for nearly a third of world trade flows. The Netherlands is one of the top 15 important trading partners of the U.S. Conversely, the USA is in the top five of the Netherlands’ most important trading partners.”

“FME and NEMA believe there is potential to strengthen EU-U.S. trade and investment as well as to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic. Therefore, we pledge to assist in finding ways to increase trade between the two regions.”

“Specifically the associations call on their governments and the EU to advance trans-Atlantic trade through the following goals: complete elimination of tariffs on EU-US trade; simplification of customs procedures; greater cooperation on public procurement and trade in advanced technologies; elimination of regulatory divergences that require duplicative procedures and higher compliance costs; and creation of a level playing field for recognizing standards and results of conformity assessment.”

“Tariffs are blunt instruments that abet collateral damage up and down supply chains. A trade and investment agreement between the EU and U.S. targeting unfair trade practices coupled with effective utilization of binding dispute settlement processes would be an effective way to address trade discord. If tariffs are perceived to be necessary for negotiating a fair agreement, their use should be short-lived.”

“Applying leverage to compel specific behavior broadly causes unneeded strain on longstanding fair-trade and alliance relationships. If anything, true partners seek to strengthen, not weaken, fair and free trade especially in the face of global competition, including from countries that are not always playing by the rules.”

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