To defend the UK steel industry, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is rolling over tariffs in response to the unjustified ‘Section 232’ tariffs imposed by the U.S. on aluminium and steel imports. These tariffs will continue from January 1st when the UK becomes an independent trading nation once again.
The Department for International Trade will launch a consultation to ensure these tariffs are shaped to UK interests and tailored to the UK economy, based on evidence and input from key stakeholders. Details of the scope and timing of the consultation will be confirmed in due course.
In parallel, the UK government is suspending retaliatory tariffs resulting from the Boeing dispute in an effort to bring the U.S. towards a reasonable settlement and show that the UK is serious about reaching a negotiated outcome. The government reserves the right to impose tariffs at any point if satisfactory progress towards an agreeable settlement is not made.
The twin announcements are part of the government’s strategy to deescalate trade tensions so the U.S. and UK can move forward to the next phase of their trading relationship, and ultimately draw a line under a dispute that harms industry on both sides of the Atlantic.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "As an independent trading nation once again, we finally have the ability to shape these tariffs to our interests and our economy, and to stand up for UK business.
"Ultimately, we want to de-escalate the conflict and come to a negotiated settlement so we can deepen our trading relationship with the U.S. and draw a line under all this. We are protecting our steel industry against illegal and unfair tariffs and will continue to do so but are also showing the U.S. we are serious about ending a dispute that benefits neither country.
In 2018 the United States Government announced that under Section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act of 1962 it would place tariffs on EU imports of steel and aluminium.
The ongoing tariffs are unjustified under WTO rules and unfairly target UK steel and aluminium manufacturers and should be removed. Any claim that UK steel and aluminium imports harm U.S. national security is false and without foundation.
In response, the EU imposed counter-balancing measures on U.S. products. ■