US, UK begin talks on lifting Trumps steel tariffs


The United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to begin talks on removing former President Donald Trumps import taxes on British steel and aluminum.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and UK Trade Minister Anne-Marie Tevelyan said they would be working toward a swift deal that ensures the viability of the steel and aluminum industries in both countries and also “strengthens their democratic alliance”.

In 2018, Trump imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on foreign steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, calling them a threat to US national security a move that outraged the British, Europeans and other longstanding American allies. Although President Joe Biden had criticized Trump for alienating allies, he was slow once taking office a year ago to undo the metals tariffs, popular in the politically important steel-producing states.

Last year, the Biden administration reached a deal with the European Union, agreeing to drop the tariffs on EU metals that come in below new import quotas and continuing to tax imports that exceed them. The EU dropped retaliatory tariffs on US products, including whiskey.


In a statement Wednesday, the UK Department for International Trade said: “Our focus now is on reaching a speedy resolution that lifts these tariffs promptly and clears the way for our thriving trading relationship to grow.” US distillers are hoping the talks with Britain will lead to an end to the UKs remaining tariffs on American spirits. Chris Swonger, president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, called Wednesdays announcement “a very positive development”.

Critics said all along that Trumps steel and aluminum tariffs did little to address the real problem confronting American producers of steel and aluminum: overproduction by China. But the United States already shuts out most Chinese steel. So the Trump tariffs dealt out punishment mostly to American allies.

In their joint statement on Wednesday, the US and the UK said they had discussed Chinese overproduction and promised to “hold countries that practice harmful market-distorting policies to account”.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)