UK to extend tariffs on steel imports for another two years
Tariffs on steel imports from China and other countries will be extended by two years in an effort to protect the UK steel industry, trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced.
The tariffs are aimed at tackling issues of “dumping, of unfair government subsidies or, as in the case of safeguards, give businesses time to adjust to unforeseen increases in imports.” She said.
They applied to 15 categories of steel products, including railway material and gas pipes, but five of the tariff categories were due to expire on Thursday with the remainder due to expire in June 2024.
The UK government decision will see the extension of existing tariffs on five categories of steel until June 2024, “alongside the other ten categories.”
“This means the safeguard will remain in place on all 15 categories, updated from 1 July to reflect recent trade flows.” Trevelyan said.
The move risks breaching World Trade Organization (WTO) rules but “on balance” it is “vital public interest that Government acts to protect the steel sector.” Trevelyan said.
She said added, the decision “departs from our international legal obligations under the relevant WTO agreement.”
Shadow international trade secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds said the move was a “welcome relief” to the steel industry and ensure a level playing field in the face of cheap imports, but criticised the government for not moving faster.
He said, the extension of tariffs “in no way makes up for the shortcomings in support for the steel industry from this government”.