Steel producers claim that the UK has been “left behind” after the US decided to settle a trade dispute over commodities such as whiskey and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
President Biden has signed an agreement to lift tariffs on steel imports from the EU imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
However, the pact excludes UK exports, placing British steelmakers at a disadvantage.
UK Steel, a trade group, said a solution for British manufacturers was “desperately required.”
According to Gareth Stace, director general of UK Steel, the tariffs, which went into effect in 2018, practically halved British steel exports to the US.
The United States is the second-largest market for steel produced in the United Kingdom. However, the new agreement would put UK businesses at a disadvantage in comparison to European competitors who will be allowed to transport their products to the US without paying import tariffs.
In exchange, the EU withdrew retaliatory duties on whiskey, power boats, and Harley-Davidson motorbikes that it had imposed.
“While it is encouraging to see the United States taking measures to reopen its steel markets, there is great worry that UK companies have been left behind in this process and are still waiting for their own deal,” Mr Stace added.
“Due to the significant competitive advantage that this pact gives EU steel manufacturers over UK steel producers, our export orders to the US market will surely be lost to EU exporters.”
However, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK’s international trade secretary, has stated that the UK and the US are in negotiations to eliminate “damaging tariffs” on British steel exports.
“We applaud the Biden administration’s openness to cooperate with us to address trade concerns pertaining to steel and aluminum,” Ms Trevelyan tweeted.
“It’s heartening to see the United States take efforts to de-escalate this situation.”
The US and EU believe that the agreement would restrict the amount of so-called “dirty” steel produced by nations like China, which accounts for up to 20% of total CO2 emissions. More than half of the world’s steel is produced in this country.
The White House stated, “Together, the United States and the European Union will seek to restrict access to their markets for filthy steel and limit access to nations that dump steel in our markets, leading to global oversupply.”
“Of course, the arrangement is available to all like-minded couples. Steel production is one of the most carbon-intensive industries on the planet “According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“The UK is committed to addressing both global steel overcapacity and decarbonisation, and we remain focused on agreeing a resolution that sees damaging tariffs removed to the benefit of businesses on both sides of the Atlantic,” a spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said in a statement.
“We applaud the Biden Administration’s openness to collaborate with us on trade problems including steel and aluminum, and we applaud the US’s efforts to de-escalate the situation.”