Critical UK steel import quota monitoring glitch remains unresolved

Technical issues continue to hinder the UK steel allocation online monitoring system, with the hollow sections quota now reportedly filled at 1,898 mt for the January-March period, according to a letter published by the UK tax department HMRC Jan. 19.

Since Jan. 6, the failed system has prevented traders from checking the quota balance for imports. Although buyers can still register quota claims for material, there is still no way of determining if a quota has been exhausted.

The delay has left UK importers dissatisfied with the new system, with many fearing that certain quota levels have already been exhausted in the first few days of Q1.

“Progress is being made on the IT issues with the quota allocation/monitoring systems,” the government letter said. “It is hoped to be resolved soon.”

The UK introduced steel import quotas Jan. 1 following the end of the transition period with the EU.

A UK-based trader said the technical faults would be an issue if the quota balance were to become breached, which it has with hollow sections.

“If all lumped together and it breaches, then everyone will have to pay duty pro-rata,” he said. “It would be disappointing if you registered it before it would have been breached and then have to pay duty because of their [HMRC’s] mistake. It makes it difficult for us traders and ultimately our customer base.”

— Amanda Flint