US, UK begin talks on metal tariffs, overcapacity

The US and UK officially began bilateral discussions Jan. 19 to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity and a tariff dispute between the two nations.

“The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to market-oriented steel and aluminum industries in the US and the UK, and to the workers in those industries,” trade representatives from both nations said in a joint statement.

The statement was issued following a meeting involving US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Regarding trade between the two countries, the representatives agreed to resolve issues stemming from the US’ Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs on imports from the UK and the UK’s retaliatory tariffs on certain US exports.

“[The trade representatives] agreed that, as the US and the UK are close and long-standing partners, sharing similar national security interests as democratic market economies, they can partner to promote high standards, address shared concerns and hold countries that practice harmful market-distorting policies to account,” the statement said, adding that overcapacity in China particularly posed a threat to the global market.

The trade representatives will seek a prompt resolution to address global excess metal production capacity and the “deployment of effective solutions, including appropriate trade measures, to preserve our critical industries,” according to the statement.

The US began talks with other world governments in 2021 concerning overcapacity and trade disputes in the steel and aluminum industries. In October, the US modified its Section 232 tariff program to allow a certain volume of metal shipments from the EU to enter the US duty-free under a quota.

The Section 232 tariffs were imposed on most countries in 2018 under former President Donald Trump.