Effective January 1, 2022, the U.S. will no longer impose a 25% tariff on steel or a 10% tariff on aluminum imported from the European Union (EU). The two countries negotiated an agreement to lift the Section 232 tariffs on October 31, 2021 at the G-20 Summit in Italy. In exchange for lifting the tariffs, the EU agreed to lift its 25% retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. goods and limit its U.S. imports of aluminum and steel.
Steel imports from the EU will be limited by a Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) that allows duty free imports of qualifying steel up to 3.3 million metric tons per year. The TRQ for aluminum is capped at 18,000 metric tons for unwrought aluminum and 366,000 metric tons for wrought aluminum. Imports that exceed the TRQ will be taxed at 25% for steel and 10% for aluminum.
Agreement stipulations, exclusions, and product categories for steel and aluminum are listed here: US-232-EU-Statement.pdf (commerce.gov)
When the agreement was announced, Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers said the tariffs had negatively impacted the U.S. economy. The new agreement, he said, “will help address steel shortages and soaring prices that have hurt equipment manufacturers.”
United States Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo called the agreement “great news for America’s steel and aluminum industries and workers, as well as American consumers.” The deal, she said, “will protect American jobs, avoid retaliatory tariffs on iconic American brands like Harley Davidson and the Kentucky bourbon industry, reduce inflationary pressures on products like cars, trucks, appliances and canned goods, and alleviate a major supply chain crunch by supporting increased steel and aluminum capacity in the US.”
The new year also brings employment changes specific to Connecticut. Starting January 1, the state’s Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA) will change from providing 16 weeks of job-protected leave over a 24-month period to 12 weeks over a 12-month period. Also, the CT FMLA will now apply to companies with at least one employee, rather than only companies with 75 or more employees.
Previously, employees had to work for their companies for at least 12 months and 1,000 work hours to be eligible for the CT FMLA, but this is reduced to three months of employment with no minimum work hours in 2022.
Connecticut’s Department of Administrative Services released the details of the revised CT FMLA on December 23, 2021 in General Letter 39. The 19-page document explains employee qualifications and employer responsibilities.
Connecticut Manufacturers Resource Group offers access to vetted Human Resource professionals to ensure manufacturers understand the changes and fully comply with the law.