UK steel import safeguard extension reallocates former Russia, Belarus quotas: TRA

Quotas formerly allocated to Russia and Belarus under the UK’s steel import safeguards system have been reallocated to other countries in the extended safeguards system effective July 1, the UK’s Trade Remedies Authority, or TRA, announced.

The reallocation has been made in light of current UK sanctions on imports from Russia and Belarus following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Beneficiaries of the reallocation include Ukraine, the EU, Turkey and Taiwan, the independent body said in a July 1 document. Russia and Belarus previously accounted for around 22% of the UK’s imports of rebar, and the reallocation of those quotas has been made “to avoid a potential shortage of steel in the UK,” the TRA confirmed.

The UK extended steel import safeguards on 15 key product categories on July 1 for two years until June 30, 2024, mirroring the EU’s two-year extension of its own steel import safeguards. The EU also recently announced it had reallocated Russia and Belarus’ shares of the EU import quotas among other nations.

Under the safeguards system, the UK has set quotas for different countries or regions to send a certain amount of steel tariff-free to the UK. Once those quotas are exhausted, the countries have to pay a higher tariff rate.

“We have responded to changes in the international steel market following the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” TRA chief executive Oliver Griffiths said. “Reallocating quotas currently held by Russia and Belarus will provide UK firms in the construction, engineering and automotive sectors with access to higher volumes of duty-free steel.”

Two product categories are affected by the re-allocation, the TRA said. These include Category 1 (non-alloy and other alloy hot rolled sheets and strips), used in yellow goods, construction, tube-making and the production of downstream steel products, and Category 13 (rebars), used in construction, the automotive industry, engineering and white goods manufacture. New tariff rates may apply to imports of steel in these categories, depending on the country of origin, the TRA said.

The TRA describes itself as the UK body that investigates whether trade remedies measures are needed on imports.

— Diana Kinch