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UK and US Begin High-Level Talks on Steel Tariffs

The United States and the United Kingdom have began official discussions over Trump-era tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from the United Kingdom.

Both nations’ trade authorities stated that they were dedicated to a “expedited conclusion” that would assist metals firms in both markets survive.

The trade war has been a thorn in the side of the two partners for a long time.

Last year, the US and Europe secured an agreement to eliminate border fees on metal imports from Europe.

The United States slapped a 25% tariff on international steel and a 15% tax on foreign aluminum during the Trump administration, causing outrage among allies, particularly the United Kingdom, who retaliated by imposing tariffs on select US imports, such as whiskey.

Some of the regulations, which were backed by major steel producers in the US, have now been rescinded.

It has struck an agreement with Europe and has begun talks with Japan under President Joe Biden.

However, border tariffs continue to be a problem for British exporters.

As a result, one UK steel exporter has already announced that it will relocate operations to Spain. United Cast Bar Limited told reporters that it was unlikely to return manufacturing to the UK once it had been relocated unless a rapid arrangement with the US could be struck.

“Both parties are committed to working towards an expedient outcome that ensures the viability of steel and aluminum industries in both markets against the continuing shared challenge of global excess capacity and strengthens their democratic alliance,” UK and US trade officials said in a statement announcing the start of talks.

Following a virtual meeting between UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the statement was released. Katherine Tai, the United States Trade Representative, also signed the statement.

“We want a settlement as quickly as possible that promotes UK firms and further enhances our economic relationship,” Ms Trevelyan said after the meeting on Wednesday.

The news was welcomed by the steel lobby in the United Kingdom. It claimed that current tariffs had cut UK exports by nearly half.

“That a resolution looks to be in sight just a few weeks into 2022 is enormously positive news for the steel business and steelworkers throughout the UK,” UK Steel stated.

“Given the EU deal’s competitive disadvantage, it’s critical that these discussions complete quickly to avoid further damage to UK producers.”

The business group went on to say that it thought the UK will be able to achieve a better deal with the US than the European Union if it “used its new autonomous trade authorities to their full potential.”

American whiskey producers, whose shipments to the UK have decreased by more than half since the UK imposed retaliatory duties in 2018, expressed optimism that a settlement would be reached shortly.

“Securing the immediate elimination of the UK’s 25% duty on American whiskeys helps protect U.S. employment while the economy recovers from the harsh economic repercussions and major supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak,” stated Rob Maron of the United States Distilled Spirits Council.

The United States and the United Kingdom indicated in a joint statement that collaborative steps to reduce China’s overproduction will be a focus of future negotiations. They criticized the country for developing “excess capacity,” which they claimed had resulted in “distortions that…pose a major danger to market-oriented steel and aluminum businesses in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as their employees.”

The meetings were aimed at finding a means to work together “to promote high standards, solve common concerns, and hold nations that practice detrimental market-distorting practices accountable,” they added.

Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson is a business journalist, with over a decade of experience in the trenches of reporting up-to-date business news for publications all over the world. With a wealth of knowledge at his back, Bob strives to bring the most important insights into the business world for TheOptic daily.
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