Steel industry demands extension of safeguards against post-Brexit cheap imports

Mon 21 Jun 2021
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The UK steel industry says it needs a continuation of EU protections if it is to survive against plans to allow cheap foreign imports.

The Guardian reports that a recent recommendation by the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) to end EU safeguards for half of the product categories in the UK would be a “hammer blow” for the sector, according to industry body UK Steel. 

UK exposed

Gareth Stace, director general of trade body UK Steel, said that the EU had renewed its protections on Friday which could leave the UK steel industry exposed.

“The TRA’s decision to terminate steel safeguards for half of the product categories exposes the UK’s steel sector to uncontrolled surges in imports and is a hammer blow,” he said.

On 19 May, the TRA recommended that the safeguards be removed for nine steel product when existing measure lapses at the end of June, reported Argus Media.

Section 232 defence

The trade defence measures were brought in to protect against former US President Donald Trump’s section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium products to the US.

US President Joe Biden has not dropped these tariffs and is under pressure to retain them from the US producers.

Speaking at a debate earlier this month, Conservative MP for Scunthorpe and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Steel, Holly Mumby-Croft, said:

“An increase in imports in an unprotected category could affect the viability of another steel product and there is a real risk that the UK will be increasingly vulnerable to imports if steel safeguards are removed.”

Labour is to stage a Commons vote to oppose the measures today, reports the Morningstar. It hopes calls for emergency measures to extend safeguards will be supported by Tory backbenchers in former ‘red wall’ seats.