UK steel suppliers eye regaining US market share

UK steel and aluminium suppliers have resumed exporting tariff free up to a specified volume to largest trading partner the US, effective 1 June, the UK’s Department for International Trade says in a note published on Wednesday. This follows the trade deal agreed between the UK and US earlier this year to remove Section 232 tariffs.

In tandem, the UK will end its rebalancing measures on a wide variety of US products including whisky, Levi’s jeans and Harley Davidson’s motorcycles.

“From today UK steel producers will again be able to sell steel to American consumers tariff free giving them a critical competitive advantage over global competitors and allowing them to recover market share lost in the years since tariffs were imposed,” says UK Steel director general Gareth Stace. “Today marks the start of a comeback for UK steel in the US, and we welcome the reopening of this important market for UK producers once again.”

Thanks to the US-UK deal agreed in March (see Kallanish passim), UK-origin steel is now subject to the in-quota rate under the applicable tariff rate quota (TRQ) for UK steel, allowing for 500,000 tonnes/year of tariff-free imports into the US. The steel must be “melted and poured” in the UK and will still be permitted if first sent to a conferring EU country for additional processing.

The UK also agreed to provide to the US an attestation in the case of any producer owned or controlled by a company registered in China or a Chinese entity that exports steel to the US under the TRQs. The attestation will be based on an annual strategic audit conducted by an independent third party, to ensure there is no market distorting practices by that producer in the UK that would materially contribute to non-market excess capacity of steel.

Adam Smith Poland