The UK and the US have agreed to intensify discussions over ending Donald Trump-era tariffs on British steel and aluminium, with talks set to begin as soon as tomorrow.
International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan spoke with US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo today, with the pair announcing they were both committed to “an expeditious outcome that ensures the viability of steel and aluminium industries in both markets”.
Trevelyan will begin talks this week with Raimondo and US trade representative Katherine Tai over the tariffs, with a Whitehall source telling City A.M. that the international trade secretary is hoping to have an agreement wrapped up in “weeks, not months”.
Joe Biden’s administration scrapped the respective 25 and 10 per cent tariffs on EU steel and aluminium exports in October, however they remain in place in the UK.
A communication from the US Department of Commerce, leaked to the Financial Times last month, said Boris Johnson’s threats to trigger Article 16 and suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol were holding back any progress in scrapping the UK tariffs.
However, today’s breakthrough indicates that a resolution could soon be found over the issue.
A Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “Following the secretary of state’s visit to the US last month, we welcome the administration’s decision to work at pace towards a joint resolution on steel and aluminium tariffs.
“Our focus now is on reaching a speedy resolution that lifts these tariffs promptly and clears the way for our thriving trading relationship to grow.”
Trump introduced a 25 per cent tariff on steel exports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium exports from the EU, Mexico and Canada in 2018.
Trump’s White House said the trade barriers were required for national security reasons, however the policy was widely thought to be a part of the ex-president’s attempt to boost US manufacturing.
The UK responded with its own tariffs on US bourbon imports that still remain in place.