Steel activists celebrate the extension of defense measures to protect British industry

The Department for International Trade opted to extend the package of tariffs and quotas – despite the prime minister’s ethics adviser resigning over the plan last week

The move aims to protect UK industry from cheap imports from abroad

Steel activists celebrated today after measures to protect UK industry were extended.

Plans to keep quotas and tariffs on some imports – which critics say go against World Trade Organization rules – contributed to Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser Lord Geidt resigning last week.

But today the government confirmed it would extend measures on five steel products for another two years to protect domestic steelmakers.

The government said in a statement: “The lifting of the safeguard measure on steel would likely lead to an increase in imports and therefore cause, or threaten to cause, serious injury to UK steel producers.”

Lord Geidt resigned last week



The USA and the EU are also sticking to measures to defend their steel sectors.

British firms feared the government would water down Britain’s defenses and unleash a new flood of cheap overseas products.

Trade body UK Steel said an easing of safeguards could deal a £150million hit to the sector.

Its Director-General Gareth Stace said today: “Government interventions will protect against expected surges in imports from trade diverted from US and EU markets, which will remain shielded for years to come.

“Such swings would have jeopardized jobs, investment and our ability to transition to net zero.

Gareth Stace, General Manager of UK Steel



“With high-paying steel jobs concentrated in Yorkshire, Humberside and South Wales, maintaining protection is also vital to the government’s ambitions.”

Mr Stace admitted the extension “wasn’t easy”.

But he added: “This is not enough reason to shy away from using the trading tools that we now have at our disposal and the Government did the right thing today by staying the course and ensuring that UK steelmakers are not the Left at the mercy of a global steel market suffering from overcapacity and government-induced distortions.”

Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “The Labor Party has consistently supported the UK steel sector and urged ministers to maintain key safeguards.

Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds



“This is a fundamental sector for the UK national interest as well as a cornerstone for jobs and communities across the country.

“Similar protective measures apply to the EU and the US.

“However, the government should do more to make our steel sector safe for future generations and have a plan to prevent further last-minute extensions of key measures.”

The Mirror has been running a Save Our Steel campaign since 2015.

The Mirror has been running a Save Our Steel campaign since 2015

The sector directly employs 33,700 workers and supports another 42,000 jobs in supply chains.

It’s worth £2.1 billion to the UK economy.

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