Proposed Tariff Rate Quota allocations for UK steel exports into the EU from 1 January 2021 have been published by the European Commission – much to the relief of the UK steel industry.

Without these UK-specific tariff allocations, the UK sector could have faced an £80 million bill from EU Steel Safeguard tariffs in the first half of next year.

According to UK Steel, while the sector now carefully considers the detail of the UK allocation proposals, it is clear that from today, UK steel companies can give full reassurance to their European customers that steel delivered to them from 1 January will not automatically be subject to a 25% tariff.

UK Steel director-general, Gareth Stace, commented: “At last we have good news for the UK steel sector. Receiving the formal notice from the European Commission of Tariff Rate Quotas helps all steel companies in the UK to give their European customers a greater level of certainty that deals done today, for delivery in 2021, will not automatically be subjected to a crippling 25% tariff, resulting out of the EU Steel Safeguards, which will remain in place until July 2021.

“The UK sector has worked closely with the Government on getting this result over the line, and I want to thank both ministers and civil servants in both the Department for International Trade and the Business Department for their support. Their help and our work has resulted in delivery of this crucial proposal from the European Commission, meaning steel companies can provide the assurance their customers have asked for and, therefore, continue to deliver UK- produced steel across the channel, our biggest export market, after 1 January 2021.”

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said: “This is extremely welcome news as there’s no doubt securing these quotas is vital to safeguard jobs across our steel industry. For months we have been campaigning alongside our partners in the sector, in Westminster and in Europe to ensure our exports to the EU did not become subject to a disastrous 25% tariff. Delivering this outcome has been a collective effort and I’d like to pay tribute to those in the Business Department who understand the importance of our industry and have worked tirelessly to bring this about.

“Of course there is more work to do because these quotas are necessary, but not sufficient, to secure our future. As a top priority steelworkers expect Government to deliver on promises that UK steel producers will be front of the queue for taxpayer-funded contracts as we move forward and rebuild our economy.”