US-EU steel agreement to be first climate-friendly trade deal if passed

"The Sierra Club commends the Biden administration for pursuing a new, climate-focused agreement with the EU on steel and aluminum trade, which could become the nation’s first climate-friendly trade agreement."

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In what could become the nation’s first climate-friendly trade deal, the United State and European Union announced a steel trade agreement. The “groundbreaking” deal would “crack down on the outsourcing of steel and aluminum manufacturing to countries where production causes far more climate pollution,” according to a press release.

The deal made between the U.S. and EU “will work to restrict access to their markets for dirty steel” in support of low-carbon steel manufacturing.

“For too long, corporations have taken advantage of unfair trade deals to outsource production of steel, aluminum, and other energy-intensive materials to countries with lower environmental and labor standards, resulting in increased climate pollution and worker exploitation,” Ben Beachy, program director of Sierra Club Living Economy, said.

The U.S. imports steel aluminum and other materials mostly from countries with lower environmental and labor standards. With 1.4 gigatons of climate pollution going into the manufacturing of steel and aluminum, “that degree of imported climate pollution is as large as the emissions of all U.S. factories combined,” according to Sierra Club.

“For over two decades, a broad, cross-border movement of union, environmental, health, and other allies has called on the U.S., the EU, and other major trade partners to reverse this global race to the bottom by transforming trade policies to support climate action and workers’ rights,” Beachy said. “The Biden administration just took a critical first step toward a new trade model that prioritizes working families, climate action, and healthy communities over the unjust profits of corporate outsourcers.”

Until now, there has never been a U.S. trade deal to mention climate change, therefore, the U.S.-EU agreement could become the nation’s first climate-friendly trade deal.

“The Sierra Club commends the Biden administration for pursuing a new, climate-focused agreement with the EU on steel and aluminum trade, which could become the nation’s first climate-friendly trade agreement,” Beachy said. “We look forward to working with the administration and our union and environmental allies on both sides of the Atlantic to build trade policies that support a livable climate for our communities.”

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