US and UK reach agreement to end steel tariff dispute

“President Biden has made it a top priority to rebuild our relationships with our allies and partners around the world as we work to counter China’s unfair trade practices and ensure America is able to compete globally in the 21st century,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. in a report.

The agreement with the United Kingdom helps achieve this goal and “will benefit American steel and aluminum industries and workers by protecting manufacturing, and consumers by easing inflationary pressures in the United States. United,” Raimondo added.

The announcement came as Britain’s Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan was in the United States for high-level talks with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on the future of US-UK economic relations.

Trevelyan and Tai met in Baltimore on Monday and Tuesday. Afterwards, Britain’s trade chief made a quick detour to Washington for a meeting with Raimondo, whose department has jurisdiction over Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.

The steel and aluminum deal removes an irritant in US-UK trade relations at a time when the two transatlantic allies – and other NATO members – are keen to unite in the face of the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

In that vein, the two trade chiefs said they spent some of their time in Baltimore talking about the need for Western allies to unite against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war.

This dispute, now in its fourth week, along with the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, is forcing trade decision makers to “think outside the box”, Tai said.

“Secretary Trevelyan and I want to preserve the historic character of [the U.S.-U.K.] special relationship while ensuring that it properly responds to the emerging challenges of today’s world,” Tai said.

Like the Biden administration’s deals with the EU and Japan, the new deal with the UK establishes a tariff rate quota that will allow some “history-based” volume of British steel and aluminum to enter the United States duty-free. But any shipment above that level would still be subject to Trump’s duties.

The deal also requires any British steel company owned by a Chinese entity to submit to an audit of its financial records to assess the influence of the People’s Republic of China government, US officials said. The results of these audits must also be shared with the United States.

Another provision imposes a new “melt and pour” requirement on shipments of aluminum from the UK to the US, the Commerce Department said.

The British government in return agreed to lift the retaliatory duties it imposed on some $500 million worth of American goods, including whisky, Harley Davidson motorcycles and Levi’s jeans.

London, however, has still failed to convince the Biden administration to resume talks on a bilateral free trade agreement that had started late under the Trump administration.

Instead, the two sides have launched a series of new dialogues on “the future of Atlantic trade” to explore areas of possible increased cooperation. This week’s meeting in Baltimore will be followed by another in Scotland in April, Trevelyan said.

Tai was evasive when asked if the dialogue could eventually lead to formal free trade talks, saying she didn’t want to “prejudge” the outcome.

“I just want to say that we find in trade that one size doesn’t fit all,” Tai said, calling free trade agreements “a very 20th-century tool.”

“What we’re doing here is tailoring what we can do together that makes the most sense and is really a force amplifier for both of us in terms of accomplishing economic and international foreign policy goals. that we have”, Taï continued.

For his part, Trevelyan said the UK would “absolutely” love to negotiate a formal FTA with the US, but still sees the value in further dialogues.

The goal “is to think about where we really need to go with our relationship” and how to build on shared values, like a commitment to the rule of law and market economies, Trevelyan said.


Politico

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