John Healey MP has warned UK steelmakers face an ‘unhappy new year’ without a deal on US steel tariffs in a letter to the Secretary of State for Trade, Anne-Marie Travelyan. Writing ahead of her visit to Washington, he says if Ministers don’t get a deal then EU-based industry will have a big price advantage over the UK and he spells out the problems facing South Yorkshire steel firms when it comes to US tariffs.
On the 1st January, steelmakers in the EU will gain a significant price advantage over their UK counterparts, with prices around 25% cheaper, after a deal was agreed to drop tariffs between the EU and US in October this year.
John said: “UK steel makers risk losing out on a vital part of the US market as American customers will already be factoring January 2022 prices into their plans for the year ahead.
“The simple question remains for UK steelmakers – where is our deal?
“If the government is truly committed to its ‘levelling up’ agenda, then steel makers in the north and across the rest of the UK need to be able to compete fairly with European industry. The current tariffs make this near-on impossible.
“I urge the government to make talks with the US on Section 232 tariffs a priority as it is vital that we work towards an agreement that provides the UK with the same tariff free quotas the EU has already secured, and that an agreement is struck as soon as possible.”
The tariffs have been imposed on the UK since 2018 and since the tariffs came in, UK exports to the US have declined by more than a third, from 350,000 tonnes in 2018 to 200,000 tonnes in 2020.