Trade authority to review decision to axe half of UK steel tariffs
The UK’s trade practice watchdog has said that it will reconsider its recommendations over scrapping tariffs on some steel imports after industry protests.
The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) said that it had received eight submissions asking for it to review its initial assessment.
Back in June the TRA triggered mass outrage from the steel industry when it said that tariffs should be scrapped across nine of 19 product categories.
At the time, UK Steel warned that such a decision would be a “hammer blow” for a sector which has been struggling for years.
With both the US and EU keeping strict tariffs in place, the trade body fears that the UK could become a dumping ground for cheaper steel.
The recommendation was accepted by the Secretary of State for International Trade, who also provided for a 12-month extension of the current protections for five of the nine product categories set to be given the axe.
Following the decision, five domestic steel producers and three importers and UK manufacturers asked the TRA to reconsider the original recommendation.
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The producers said that the TRA should have extended protections to more categories of steel products, while the importers wanted more protections to be scrapped.
It is thought that the review will take several months.
UK Steel director-general Gareth Stace said: “The steel sector welcomes the announcement of the TRA’s formal reconsideration of its original decision to terminate steel safeguards on half of steel products.
“Such a termination would leave the sector exposed to uncontrolled surges in imports and undermine the effectiveness of the remaining safeguards, threatening the long-term viability the UK’s steel sector.
“There are strong legal, WTO compliant, grounds for the maintenance of these measures for the full three-year term. Moreover, at a time when the EU and US have maintained their own protections on all steel products, and UK’s steel producers face obstacles to exporting into these markets, it is the only sensible course of action to maintain equal measures for our own producers.
“It is essential that this appeals process provides security and certainty for UK steelmakers and steel communities.”