US and UK officials have agreed to resolve their trade dispute over US steel and aluminum tariffs at a joint virtual conference on January 20.
American representatives are interested in the abolition of taxes on imports of British metal.
In March 2018, the Trump administration imposed tariffs of 25 percent on foreign steel and 10 percent on aluminum under section 232 of the National Security Act, calling them a threat to US national security. American allies.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, US Trade Representative Catherine Tay and UK Secretary of Commerce Anne-Marie Tevelyan announced at a press conference that they will work on a quick deal that will ensure the viability of the steel and aluminum industries in both countries. also “strengthens their democratic union”.
A specific date or timetable for the talks has not been announced, but will involve “global overcapacity in steel and aluminium, including the application of US tariffs” on metal imports from the UK.
“Both parties are determined to work towards an early outcome that will ensure the viability of the steel and aluminum industries in both markets,” the sales representatives said.
“We are now focused on reaching an early solution that will quickly remove these tariffs and clear the way for the growth of our prosperous trade relationship,” said a spokesman for the UK Department for International Trade.
“Until a deal is in place, we will continue to take steps to rebalance American products and will not hesitate to take any action necessary to protect our vital steel and aluminum industries,” the spokesman continued.
The talks will also include UK 25% retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including whiskey, motorcycles, blue jeans and tobacco.
Annual whiskey exports from the US to the UK have more than halved since 2018, according to the US Distilled Liquor Board.
Chris Swonger, President of the Distilled Spirits Council, called the January 19 talks “a very positive development.”
Last October, the United States reached an agreement with the European Union to cut tariffs on EU metals that fall below new import quotas and continue to tax imports that exceed them.
In response, the EU removed retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including whiskey.
The UK expects a similar regime granted by the US to the EU.
However, many US steelmakers have not supported the talks after a similar deal with Japan resulted in a significant amount of additional steel flooding the US domestic market with a nearly 50% surge in foreign imports last year.
“We think it’s important that the administration ensure that the various new agreements it’s considering don’t lead to a surge in imports,” Kevin Dempsey, president of the American Iron and Steel Institute, told .
Another skeptic, Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers’ Association, told that British steel production is “largely export-oriented” and not exactly owned by the British, as it is in fact dominated by China and India.
“The US government should be concerned about any additional alternative agreement that would increase steel imports and support countries not committed to free and fair trade,” Bell said in a statement.
Meanwhile, critics of the steel and aluminum tariffs said the conflict between the two allies did little to address the real threat facing US metal producers posed by communist China, which has flooded the world market with cheap steel.
The United States has already banned imports of most Chinese steel and aluminum.
The United States and Britain said they had discussed overproduction in China and vowed to “bring to account countries that practice harmful market-distorting policies.”
The joint agreement between the US and the EU, which came into force on January 1, also took into account concerns about the dumping of steel and aluminum by China.