UK Government urged to maintain safeguards to protect steel industry
The UK Government is being urged to make a decision on the future of steel safeguards which impose limits on the volumes of certain steel products which can be imported into the UK tariff-free.
The measures currently in place set quarterly quotas for each product and once the limit is reached a 25% tariff is applied.
Industry insiders warn that easing the measure could allow a flood of cheap steel into the UK.
The international trade minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, must decide by 30 June whether to keep steel safeguards introduced last year or remove the import limits on the five categories of products, which are currently limited.
Speaking in the Commons today, Shadow international trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, the MP for Torfaen, said: “Members across the House will be aware of the difficulties that steelworkers have been through in recent years, from the US tariffs to the current cost-of-living crisis.
“But at the moment the clock is ticking for the UK steel sector with just 14 days left for the Secretary of State to make a decision on whether current trade safeguards remain in place.
“So, can the minister of state help take away that uncertainty by urging the Secretary of State to make that decision today?”
Trade minister Penny Mordaunt replied: “The Secretary of State needs no urging, but it is important that she is able to make the right decision on this.
“The steel safeguards reconsideration is ongoing. I know that the deadline is looming, and she is carefully considering all the information that has been presented to her.
“We are obviously expecting a decision on that very shortly. We very much understand the importance of this to the steel sector, both to steel producers, but also to end users.”
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So, is this the issue that ‘Lord’ Geidt has resigned over?
If it is, and if this is in fact in breach of international law, then, in fairness, all those opposition politicians criticising the UK Govt for breaching the NI protocol and the refugee conventions are pretty clear hypocrites of the highest order. (Always assuming that this has been done as claimed with cross party support.)
An international treaty obligation should be honoured no matter how unpalatable. The Govt (and opposition) should always argue for the law to be upheld. (While campaigning to change it if they think it’s wrong.)