Thursday, December 16, 2021

News: Local MP continues to raise issue of US steel tariffs


John Healey MP has warned of an unhappy new year for local steelmakers after the Government failed to win US agreement to drop special trade tariffs on UK steel and aluminium.

Rothbiz reported in 2018 that then President Donald Trump announced a decision to implement 25% tariffs based on national security considerations.

International trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan recently met with her US counterparts but there are no signs that tariffs on UK producers will be lifted for the start of 2022.

The EU struck a deal in October to get US special steel tariffs lifted, so from January 1, steelmakers in the EU will gain a 25% price advantage over their UK counterparts for exporting into the big US market.

The Wentworth and Dearne MP, whose constituency includes Liberty Speciality Steel's Aldwarke plant, said: "Britain is being left behind. The EU have got US tariffs dropped but the Trade Secretary’s only got a promise of more talks. People have a right to expect better from the Government. Incompetent Ministers are leaving steelmakers to pay the price, and the UK will lose out further on the big US market. It’s an unhappy new year in prospect for our South Yorkshire steelmakers.

“The government are supposed to be ‘levelling up’ but the steel industry in South Yorkshire will be working with one hand tied behind it’s back. UK industry needs to be able to compete fairly with the Europeans and the current tariffs make this near-on impossible.”

In 2018 when the tariffs came in, exports to the US accounted for almost 12% of revenue for Liberty Speciality Steel in Rotherham. Since then, UK exports to the US have declined by more than a third, from 350,000 tonnes in 2018 to 200,000 tonnes in 2020.

Liberty only relaunched production at its GREENSTEEL Rotherham electric arc furnace last month, with restart and operation at night to maximise efficiency and mitigate high energy costs.

Images: Liberty Steel


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