British steel industry fury as government seeks to drop EU import restrictions

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A government body has recommended the removal of legacy EU limits on around half of UK steel imports, which has infuriated UK producers.

The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) said on Friday it would revoke limits on nine categories of steel products, including some bar and wire, meaning imports will no longer be subject to high tariffs once quotas are met . It extended the three-year limits on 10 other products, including steel for railways, gas lines and large sheet metal.

The EU introduced the limits in 2019 to protect the industry from a glut of steel products diverted from the United States after Donald Trump imposed tariffs.

The TRA is sponsored by the Department of International Trade, headed by Liz Truss. She must approve the authority’s recommendations, but she is expected to accept them.

Gareth Stace, managing director of industry lobby group UK Steel, said the move was a ‘hammer blow’ and ‘utter madness’ that would make UK producers vulnerable to import surges. “In their first major test in a post-Brexit business environment, the new UK system failed in our national steel industry,” he said.

The TRA removed the limits on some products because it found no evidence that the UK was importing them in large quantities or that increased imports would cause significant damage to the UK steel industry as a whole.

One of the preliminary recommendations was rescinded after comments from producers, Reuters reported. Producers, including Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel, which is urgently seeking funding after the collapse of its main lender, have successfully advocated for continued protection of large welded steel tubes used in offshore wind turbines.

The steel industry also argued that the government had failed to take into account the effect on small producers and that removing protections on some products could harm the industry as a whole by reducing overall volumes.

The UK looked at what EU import protections to keep after exiting the EU’s single market on December 31, 2020. Some government figures have said removing trade barriers is a key benefit for leaving the EU. ‘EU.

The prospect of competing with the rest of the world, however, has alarmed some industries, including steel and agriculture, who say they are unable to compete on a level playing field due to regulatory standards and higher costs. UK.

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