UK to extend quotas and tariffs on most steel imports

2 minute read

Britain's Trade Minister Liz Truss walks after the ceremony of State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in London, Britain, May 11, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley

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LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Britain said on Wednesday it would introduce new regulations to help defend its steel industry after accepting a recommendation from its newly established Trade Remedies Authority to scrap some quotas on imports.

Trade minister Liz Truss said the government only had the option of accepting or rejecting the recommendations in full, which said quotas and tariffs should be retained for 10 categories of steel for three years, and revoked in nine others.

However the minister said the government would now introduce a public notice to launch a temporary extension on a further five of the 19 steel products for one year. "Imports outside the quotas will face a tariff of 25%," she said.

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The European Union introduced quotas in 2019 when Britain was still in the bloc to guard against steel shipments normally destined for the United States being redirected to Europe after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed 25% tariffs.

The UK steel industry, which generates about $2 billion in turnover each year, had warned the government not to remove any of the EU's so-called safeguard measures, saying it could spur a flood of imports.

Truss said the extension would give the industry time to appeal the TRA decision, which was made before Brussels said it would extend its system of quotas and tariffs for a further three years.

She added that the UK would also review the Trade Remedies framework, a post-Brexit UK-specific system which is designed to protect sectors against unfair trading practices.

"The Trade Remedies framework was first introduced in 2018 under the previous government," she said. "The current government will review it to ensure it is up-to-date, champions WTO rules and is fit for purpose in the post-COVID world."

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Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Diane Craft and Giles Elgood

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