Biden nixes Trump’s last-minute move to remove aluminum tariffs on UAE

President Biden late Monday reversed an effort by former President Trump to lift aluminum tariffs on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shortly before he left office, instead keeping the tariffs in place.

The tariffs were due to be lifted on Feb. 3 as a result of a directive Trump signed shortly before Biden took office on Jan. 20. Biden signed a proclamation keeping the tariffs in place, however, saying it was in the U.S.’s national security interest to do so.

Trump in the Jan. 20 proclamation said that the U.S. and the UAE have an “important security relationship” and had discussed “alternative means to address the threatened impairment to our national security posed by aluminum article imports” from the UAE.

In the proclamation released by the White House Monday evening, Biden said that “the available evidence indicates that imports from the UAE may still displace domestic production, and thereby threaten to impair our national security.”

The move is the latest example of Biden rolling back or pausing moves by his predecessor in his first weeks in office. Biden has signed a number of executive actions reversing Trump-era policies and his team is reviewing a range of actions by the previous administration to determine how to proceed.

Trump helped broker an agreement between the UAE and Israel to normalize relations last year, and as a result opened the door to the UAE purchasing billions worth of U.S. F-35 fighter jets, MQ-9B drones and air-to-ground munitions. The Biden administration has frozen some pending arms transfers as part of a review of those sales, the State Department said last week. 

Trump first imposed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports and 25 percent tariff on steel imports in March 2018, saying they posed a threat to U.S. national security. Exemptions to the tariffs were eventually made for Argentina, Australia, Canada and Mexico.

The Biden administration is also reviewing tariffs imposed by the previous administration on other nations, including China, but has not signaled any immediate plans to lift them.  

Tags aluminum tariffs Argentina Canada Donald Trump F-35s Mexico UAE

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