UK launches bid for USA to end tariffs on steel, aluminum

UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan is visiting the US this week as part of a push for an end to Trump-era tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the UK government said in a statement Dec. 5.

During her three-day trip to New York and Washington, the UK trade secretary will meet with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to discuss how trade and investment can support each country’s leveling-up agendas and find a resolution to the s232 steel and aluminum tariffs, the UK government said.

“The visit offers an opportunity to build support for state-level cooperation that offers significant opportunity to unlock trade and investment wins for UK and US businesses,” according to the statement.

In March 2018, then US President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports from most other countries, as part of his “America First” policy.

In October this year, the US and the EU agreed bilaterally to remove the tariffs.

The UK steel sector has called on the country’s government to request a similar lifting of the tariffs.

“On the 1st January, steelmakers in the EU will gain a significant price advantage over their UK counterparts,” according to Gareth Stace, the director general of industry group UK Steel. “Already, customers in the United States will be factoring in January 2022 prices to their plans for the next year, which of course risks the UK sector losing market share in the US, to EU exporters.”

According to UK Steel, since the tariffs came into force, the UK’s exports to the US have declined from 350,000 mt in 2018 to 200,000 mt in 2020.

“While many of our US customers have stood by us, it is imperative that all parties work together to come to an agreement that provides the UK with the same tariff free quotas the EU has already secured, and that such an agreement is arrived at as soon as possible,” the association added.

— Annalisa Villa