Steel & Aluminium Tariffs: UK & US Reach Deal

In March of 2018, then-President of the USA Donald Trump imposed high tariffs on the import of steel and aluminium (25% and 10% respectively) on several countries, including the UK. While a deal was reached to ease said tariffs between the EU and the USA in October, they were still imposed on UK imports of the metals due to the fact that the UK had exited the EU.

After months of talks, the UK's International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan finally met with Gina Raimondo, the USA's Commerce Secretary. The meeting resulted in a resolution that the USA would remove Section 232 tariffs, which were dubbed a 'longstanding irritant' that was impeding trade and integration between the two countries.

The new deal, which went into effect on June 1st 2022, allows half a million tonnes of steel to be imported into the USA each year without any imposition of duty; higher amounts will then be subject to applicable tariffs. In return, the UK agreed to remove 'retaliatory' tariffs on over $500 million worth of exports from the USA, including agricultural products, distilled alcoholic spirits and other consumer goods such as motorcycles and blue jeans.

To qualify for duty-free treatment, any steel exported to the USA must be both melted and poured here in the UK, though a certain amount of processing may be carried out in EU countries. The resolution also demands that British steel companies that are owned by Chinese entities must be subjected to thorough financial audits that will determine the amount of influence from Chinese government: the results of such audits must then be shared with the USA.

The USA's Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo commented that the new resolution with the UK would 'ease inflationary pressures' as well as helping to 'counter unfair trade practices by countries like China'. "By allowing for a flow of duty-free steel and aluminum from the U.K., we further ease the gap between supply and demand for these products in the USA," she added.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary for the UK, said that the deal was 'good news' for the UK's steel and aluminium industries which, employing over 80,000 people, had been 'unfairly hit' by the Trump-era tariffs. "We have been clear from the start that we would only accept a solution that works for the UK and is in the best interests of both our steel and aluminium industries and this bespoke agreement does just that," she added.

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