Trump Steel Tariffs – UK wins temporary exemption
The Trump administration has said it will exempt, temporarily – the EU along with the UK from the huge tariffs the US has imposed on steel and aluminium imports.
As well as the UK and EU countries, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea will initially be exempt from the 25% steel and 10% aluminium tariffs which come into force from today.
President Donald Trump “has decided to pause the imposition of the tariffs with respect to those countries,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at a Senate finance committee hearing.
The tariffs on steel will initially be suspended for exempt countries until May 1, 2018, “pending discussions of satisfactory long-term alternative means to address the threatened impairment to U.S. national security” said a White House spokesperson.
“The President will decide whether to continue to exempt these countries from the tariffs, based on the status of the discussions. The European Union will negotiate on behalf of its member countries.” The spokesperson said.
The Trump Administration said it will closely monitor imports of steel and aluminum imports from exempted countries, and may advise the President to impose quotas “as appropriate.”
Whilst the United States is not the largest export market for the UK steel industry, the fear is the UK could find itself becoming a dumping ground as cheap steel which was bound for the US floods the market.
Unite national officer for steel Tony Brady said:
“This is good news in the short term for UK steel workers and their families, but we are far from out of the woods.
“We still need to secure long lasting exemptions to lift the cloud of uncertainty from UK steel makers and steelworkers, in addition to addressing global capacity.
“We cannot have a situation where UK steel is exempt from US tariffs while steel bound for American markets from other countries is diverted and dumped on the UK.
“The UK government must work with the European Union and press the Trump administration for a long lasting solution that doesn’t destroy jobs and manufacturing communities.”
In response to Trump’s steel quotas Wales first minister Carwyn Jones said earlier this month:
“A return to the protectionism of the past is not the answer and we have already written to the UK Government to express our serious concerns about the potential impact US tariffs could have on the Welsh steel industry.
We remain absolutely committed to doing all we can to support our steel industry and to promoting international trade, which is vital to ensuring the prosperity of Welsh people and communities.”
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