Deal on lobsters gets go-ahead from Parliament

Parliament agreed to eliminate EU tariffs on lobsters in return for lower US tariffs on a range of EU exports.

In exchange for the elimination of duties on live or frozen lobster imported from the US, the EU will get duty relief of a comparable economic value on its own products, such as prepared meals, certain crystal glassware and cigarette lighters. This is the first EU-US negotiated tariff-reduction in over 20 years, and is applicable for all WTO trading partners.

Parliament supported the agreement with 638 votes for, 45 against and 11 abstentions “as a basis for renewed constructive transatlantic engagement”.

The resolution notes that the EU and the US have been engaged in a dispute over US tariffs levied in June 2018 on European steel and aluminium and agricultural products.

Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), rapporteur

“Over the last few years, trade relations between the EU and the US have been marked by tension. This deal on lobsters clearly shows that the EU prefers cooperation to confrontation. The US must stop slapping unilateral tariffs on our companies. We have to settle the Airbus-Boeing case and explore how we can act together, for example, on WTO reform. We must keep in mind that we have more in common than what divides us,” said the rapporteur who also chairs the Trade Committee.

Next steps

Council is expected to approve the regulation in December. Following the plenary vote and the Council approval, the regulation will enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal, with retroactive effect from 1 August 2020.


In the first EU-US tariff reduction deal in two decades, the two partners agreed on 21 August to eliminate or reduce customs duties for a small number of tariff lines covering €168 million of EU and US exports. Check the list of products here.