The US is using Donald Trump’s tariffs on British steel as a lifeline for thousands of British jobs

Tariffs of 25% on British exports to America will be scrapped from June – four years after they were introduced by former President Donald Trump. But Tory ministers have been accused of “procrastinating and delaying”.

A worker oversees molten iron flowing from a blast furnace at a steel mill (file photo)
A worker oversees molten iron flowing from a blast furnace at a steel mill (file photo)

Activists celebrate today after Joe Biden scrapped tariffs on British steel.

The 25 percent tariffs will be scrapped from June – five months after the White House scrapped measures against EU steel.

Tariffs were introduced in 2018 under Donald Trump.

Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “This is a step that is long overdue.

“British steel and aluminum producers faced four years of punitive tariffs originally imposed by President Trump.

“Ministers have hesitated and hesitated, so finally lifting these tariffs is a welcome relief.”

US tariffs were first imposed on EU steel – including from the UK – for national security reasons under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

The famous steel mill


Jonathan Meyers)

The US scrapped tariffs on steel from the EU on January 1, but Brexit meant the UK was cut out of the deal and tariffs on British-made steel crossing the Atlantic remained in place.

Tariffs on Japanese steel sent to America will be lifted from April 1 – but the UK will have to wait two more months.

Under the agreement, the UK will receive an annual duty-free quota of imports of over 500,000 tonnes of steel ‘smelted and cast’ in the country, with larger quantities subject to a 25% tariff.

The agreement requires any British steel company owned by a Chinese entity to review its financial records to assess Beijing’s influence and then share them with Washington.

The requirement initially applies to British Steel, which was acquired by China’s Jingye Group in 2020.

Industry bosses have been frustrated by the pace of lifting measures against UK manufacturers.

Alasdair McDiarmid, operations manager of the Community Steel Union, said: “To protect jobs our steelmakers must compete on a level playing field and it is vital that the UK does not suffer a further competitive disadvantage compared to EU manufacturers.

“The EU finalized its deal with the US back in October, so a UK-US deal is long overdue and must be implemented without delay to prevent further damage to our industry.”

The amendment was signed by Joe Biden months after he eased similar tariffs on the EU


(Getty Images)

UK Steel Director General Gareth Stace said the agreement “represents an extremely positive outcome and is warmly welcomed by the UK steel sector”.

“Without this deal, UK manufacturers would have been left at a significant competitive disadvantage in the US markets compared to their EU and Japanese counterparts as their exports would have been severely curtailed,” he said.

“The United States is an important export market for British producers, but since the previous government imposed Section 232 tariffs, steelmakers across the United Kingdom have been selling to the United States at a huge disadvantage.”

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the pact “brings our countries closer together and represents a win-win situation for US and UK businesses and consumers.”

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the announcement was “good news for our steel and aluminum industries” which she says have been “unfairly hit” by the tariffs.

“This means our manufacturers can now once again enjoy a high degree of duty-free access to the US market,” she added.

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Fry Electronics Team

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