New U.S.-EU Steel Agreement Could Be First U.S. Climate-Friendly Trade Deal


WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, the United States and the European Union announced a groundbreaking trade agreement to crack down on the outsourcing of steel and aluminum manufacturing to countries where production causes far more climate pollution. Under the deal, the U.S. and EU “will work to restrict access to their markets for dirty steel” to support manufacturing of low-carbon steel.

Each year, 1.4 gigatons of climate pollution goes into the steel, aluminum, and other manufactured goods that the U.S. imports, largely from countries with lower environmental and labor standards. That degree of imported climate pollution is as large as the emissions of all U.S. factories combined. 

To date, no U.S. trade deal has even mentioned climate change, which has facilitated the outsourcing of climate pollution and jobs to countries with lower standards. In aiming to reverse this trend, the U.S.-EU agreement could become the nation’s first climate-friendly trade deal. 

In response, Sierra Club Living Economy Program Director Ben Beachy released the following statement:

“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. 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. 

“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. 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. 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.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit