May 9, 2022

Removing Tariffs Would Provide Lifeline to Companies Depending on Trade

The United Kingdom announced in April that it would eliminate tariffs on all goods coming from Ukraine in an effort to help the Eastern European nation’s economy during the military conflict with Russia. Now, American business groups are pushing for the United States to do the same.

“While it’s no panacea, suspending U.S. tariffs on imports from Ukraine would help the beleaguered country’s workers and businesses – notably, Ukraine has suspended all of its own import duties,” wrote Mary Kate Carter, coordinator of international policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Doing so would require legislation, but Congress has, in recent weeks, shown strong bipartisan support for measures to aid Ukraine.”

As Carter notes, Ukraine exported $1.9 billion in goods to the United States in 2021, less than 0.1 percent of all U.S. imports but equal to 2.8 of Ukraine’s total exports. As such, the impact would be minimal to the U.S. economy but would serve as an act of goodwill to Ukrainian workers, farmers and companies that are dependent on international trade.

There seems to be at least some support in Congress for taking this action. In early April, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Toomey (R-PA) asked the Biden administration to remove the 25 percent tariff on steel imports from Ukraine. “The United States should do everything it can to ensure that the Ukrainian people can effectively rebuild after the war,” the letter said. “Lifting the U.S. tariff on steel from Ukraine is a small but meaningful way for the U.S. to signal support for Ukraine and to provide stability and improve the country's long-term economic outlook.”