The Government is announcing today that it will make new regulations to help defend the UK steel industry.
The move follows a review by the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) last year on defensive tariff rate quotas (TRQs) on 19 categories of steel imports retained from when the UK was a member of the European Union.
This review concluded that TRQs should be extended in 10 of the categories and revoked in nine others.
Current legislation means that the Government only has two choices: either to accept the TRA recommendation in full or reject it entirely – leaving all 19 categories of UK steel products at risk from tariff-free imports.
The Government has accepted the TRA’s recommendation to maintain the safeguard on ten steel product categories for a further three years. The Government is at the same time making new regulations to further defend the UK steel industry by extending the safeguard by public notice. The public notice will set out the details of the temporary extension on a further five of the 19 steel products for one year.Imports outside the quotas will face a tariff of 25%.
The UK Government will always do everything in its power to defend UK industry and jobs and to allow our world-leading manufacturers to compete on a level playing field. Current disruption to industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, threats of dumping and unfair subsidies, and continued trade restrictions in third countries all put UK steel products at an unacceptable disadvantage.
The steel sector supports the jobs of over 80,000 people across the UK, including some 35,000 well-paid jobs in steel production, and a further 44,000 jobs supported in wider supply chains.
That is why the Government is taking decisive action today by making new regulations to defend jobs in the UK steel industry. This will give an opportunity for the industry to appeal the recommendation made by the TRA so any new evidence can be reviewed in the context of the unique global market conditions which currently prevail.
This includes assessing the risk of injury arising from the EU safeguard which was published after the TRA made their decision.
It is important to note that the ability of industry to gather the data and the TRA to consider the evidence was extremely challenging given the unprecedented disruption to trade caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UK Government will also review the Trade Remedies framework as an urgent priority. The Trade Remedies framework was first introduced in 2018 under the previous Government. The current Government will review it to ensure it is up-to-date, champions WTO rules and is fit for purpose in the post-COVID world.
It is crucial we have the tools in the future to ensure industries are defended against unfair competition and unforeseen surges in imports.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords