US & UK Announce Trade Deal to End Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum Products
21:39 GMT 22.03.2022 (Updated: 22:23 GMT 22.03.2022)
© AP Photo / Jim MoneIn this May 9, 2019, photo, steel rods produced at the Gerdau Ameristeel mill in St. Paul, Minn. await shipment.
© AP Photo / Jim Mone
The tariffs have been in place in the US since June 2018 and cover 6.4 billion euros of European steel and aluminum imports per year. The additional tariffs applied since February 2020 have affected about 40 million euros more of exports from the EU, of which the UK remained an economic part.
The United States and the United Kingdom have reached a tariff deal to allow British steel and aluminum products into the US, a statement from the UK government revealed on Tuesday.
The UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan met with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington, DC after two months of negotiations on the issue, and an expansive lifting of the Section 232 tariffs was announced as a result of the talks, according to the press release.
The measure means reopening tariff-free access for UK steel and aluminum exports to the US. According to the British government, the lifting of tariffs will be good for the steel and aluminum industries, which employ over 80,000 people in the UK.
The new rules will go into effect on June 1, 2022.
7 February 2022, 22:51 GMT
As a result, the UK will suspend restrictions on American goods such as whiskey, blue jeans, and motorcycles.
Both parties have also agreed to collaborate closely to address the broader issue of global steel excess capacity and market distortion in order to "benefit businesses on both sides of the Atlantic and clears the way for us to focus on the next steps for the UK-US trade relationship."
"We have been clear from the start that we would only accept a solution that works for the UK and is in the best interests of both our steel and aluminium industries and this bespoke agreement does just that," Trevelyan is quoted as saying. "Hopefully we can now move forward and focus on deepening our thriving trading relationship with the US."
The lifting of restrictive measures by the UK, according to the chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, will allow British consumers to access a larger selection of "world-class whiskies" and encourage "greater investment in the UK spirits industry by the US."
"Whiskey drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic will raise a glass to today’s announcement," he added.
The US Department of Commerce announced that in addition to new smelt and cast criteria for aluminum, the agreement mandates that any UK steel firm controlled by a Chinese entity undergo a financial audit to assess the degree to which it is influenced by the Chinese government.
The findings of these audits must be shared with the US as well, per the press release.
According to the department, the deal will help to secure American jobs as well as lift "retaliatory tariffs on over $500 million worth of US exports to the UK, including distilled spirits, various agriculture products and consumer goods."
In her statement, Raimondo said that rebuilding US connections with allies and partners is a primary goal for President Joe Biden, as "we work to counter China’s unfair trade practices and ensure that America is able to compete globally in the 21st century."
"By allowing for a flow of duty-free steel and aluminum from the UK, we further ease the gap between supply and demand for these products in the United States," she noted. "And by removing the UK’s retaliatory tariffs, we reopen the British market to beloved American products."
The two countries began negotiations in January to address existing excess capacity in the global steel and aluminum markets, including the United States' application of Section 232 tariffs on UK imports and the United Kingdom's retaliatory duties on select US exports.
In the past year, the US and the UK have reached an agreement on a major civil aircraft issue, eliminated 25% tariffs on Scotch whiskey, and allowed Scottish beef and Welsh lamb to be exported to the US.