Following the announcement that the Trump administration will not exempt the UK from 25% tariffs on steel and 10% aluminium imports in to the United States, Labour MP for Redcar Anna Turley has called on the UK Government to fully support countermeasures being pursued by the EU.
Currently 350,000 tonnes or £360 million worth of steel products were exported from the UK to the US in 2017. Around 10% of UK steel exports go to the US, making it a major market for the British steel industry.
The European Union has opened a World Trade Organisation dispute against Trump’s tariffs, and is drawing up options for retaliatory measures. They are also proposing safeguards to stop other countries, who would normally have traded with the US, bringing their steel to Europe and putting pressure on our steel industry.
In 2002 George Bush tried to impose similar tariffs but was forced to back down, threatened with World Trade Organisation sanctions and counter tariffs.
Speaking in response to an Oral Statement from the Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox, on Monday 4th June, Anna said:
“In 2002 similar retaliatory action was organised by EU and this had quite profound effects on getting the US to drop these tariffs. So does he wholeheartedly support the action the EU is taking and also the route through the World Trade Association?”
In response, the Dr Fox suggested the UK could support putting some measures in place but that they favour a flexible approach so the US still has time for second thoughts and to come back to the table.
Commenting afterwards, Anna said:
“No one wants to see this escalate into a destructive trade war which would damage industries and destroy jobs. But the UK, alongside our trading partners in Europe, have to stand up to bully tactics from Donald Trump.
“When cheap Chinese steel was flooding the global market in 2015, forcing SSI in Redcar into trouble, the Government blocked tougher EU action. This time ministers must stand up for our steel industry, by taking on Trump’s tariffs and supporting safeguards to stop an oversupply of steel flooding Britain again.”