The UK steel industry faces a trade slump as the US cuts tariffs on the EU
The UK steel industry is bracing itself for a collapse in trade from New Year\'s Day, when EU rivals will gain a 25 per cent price advantage in the huge US market.
The European Union and the US have agreed a Halloween deal to remove tariffs on steel and aluminium quotas imported from the EU into the US from January 1, but tariffs on all UK steel and aluminium exports will remain in place after talks between The UK government failed to achieve a corresponding breakthrough. UK exports to the EU could also be hit by an unusually strict clause in the EU-US deal that means steel from the UK will still be subject to tariffs even if it is processed and exported by EU companies.
Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, said: "UK Steel exports to the US have halved since President Trump imposed Steel tariffs in 2018. There is no doubt that these measures have seriously damaged Britain\'s interests in its second largest steel export market. "While we welcome moves by the US to start easing tariffs, our export situation will only deteriorate further if the UK does not reach an agreement soon. The government must fight tooth and nail for a deal that ensures UK steelmakers can sell their steel to the US." Harry Patel, the national steel official in Solidarity, which represents many Of the UK steelworkers union, said the government needed to explain why the EU had a deal but the UK did not, amid reports that the US had threatened to block unilateral changes to The post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland.
Britain negotiated the so-called Northern Ireland Agreement with the EU just over a year ago as part of a trade deal to leave the bloc, but Britain has repeatedly said it could unilaterally suspend the deal. The US President Joe Biden has warned Boris Johnson not to threaten peace on the island of Ireland. Penny Mordaunt, deputy international trade minister, denied this month that the failure to reach a steel deal was linked to Brexit. She told Parliament: "The story may be true in terms of how some Americans feel, but it is a false narrative. Those are two completely different issues."
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