The US and UK have begun formal negotiations over Trump-era tariffs on UK steel and aluminium exports. Trade officials in both countries said they were committed to an 'expeditious outcome' that would help preserve metals manufacturers in both markets.

The Trump-era tariffs of 25% on steel products were imposed on the EU in 2018, when the UK was still part of the trading bloc. The US agreed to end the duties on EU products in the autumn, but the tariffs, which nearly halved UK steel exports to its second largest market, have remained in place on British steel.

After heavy criticism from the UK steel industry, a virtual meeting between UK secretary of state for international trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan, United States secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo, and United States trade representative Katherine Tai was held – commencing the negotiations that are now taking place.

''That a few weeks into 2022 a resolution appears to be in sight is hugely welcome news to the steel sector and steelworkers across the UK.''

Gareth Stace, UK Steel director general

Commenting on the announcement that the United Kingdom and the United States will commence formal talks to resolve the dispute over Section 232 tariffs on steel, UK Steel director general Gareth Stace said: “UK Steel warmly welcomes the news that the US and UK governments are now entering talks to end this trade dispute and remove the 25% tariffs levied on UK steel exports to the US, our second largest export market. With the recent removal of US tariffs on EU-produced steel, UK producers currently face a 25% price disadvantage compared to their EU competitors. That a few weeks into 2022 a resolution appears to be in sight is hugely welcome news to the steel sector and steelworkers across the UK.''

“As such, we hope that the US and UK negotiators work together in a spirit of co-operation to deliver a deal and remove these unnecessary barriers to trade. A good deal is in everyone’s interests, not least US and UK consumers. Once again, we congratulate both the US and UK governments on this announcement, and we look forward to seeing our steelmakers back on a level playing field in this important market,” Stace continued.

The statement from the US and UK also brought to attention the joint measures needed to address over-production in China, holding the country accountable for creating 'excess capacity', which they said had created 'distortions that...pose a serious threat to market-oriented steel and aluminium industries in the United Kingdom and the United States, and to the workers in those industries.'