Welsh Labour MP warns UK Gov not to sell out steelworkers in trade row
A Welsh Labour MP has warned the UK Government not to sell out steelworkers in a row about trade.
Stephen Kinnock who represents Aberavon, a constituency which includes Port Talbot steelworks, spoke out after a government body has officially recommended that protections inherited from the EU to safeguard UK producers be scrapped.
It is feared that they will be dropped in order to sign post-Brexit trade deals, and that this would allow a glut of cheap imports and would deal a hammer blow to the UK steel industry.
According to Kinnock, the UK Government has already “sold out” farmers after it agreed a trade deal with Australia that could lead to cheap lamb and beef undercutting local producers.
The recommendation was made by the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), an arm’s-length body that operates within the UK Government’s Department for International Trade.
The EU introduced the limits in 2019 after Donald Trump imposed tariffs on cheap imports of steel from China and elsewhere into the US.
They were to protect Europe’s steel industry from a glut of steel it feared would be diverted from the US because of the move
When the UK left the EU, the limits were written into UK law. However, their application will lapse at the end of this month.
Last week, the EU announced that it would extend the limits for a further three years.
Kinnock told The Guardian: “Monday’s vote will reveal whether outsourcing the decision to remove nine critical steel safeguards is a Conservative cock-up, or a Conservative conspiracy.
“Either the government votes with Labour to bring forward the emergency legislation that can amend mistakes in the Trade Bill, or it votes against and in so doing exposes the true intention of its post-Brexit trade policy: to sacrifice British jobs and manufacturing on the altar of its desperation to do trade deals.
“Last week they sold out our farmers. Will our steelworkers be next?”
The UK Government said: “All interested parties, including importers, domestic producers and overseas exporters, have been able to participate in the review to provide evidence to factor into the TRA’s assessment.
“The TRA is a non-departmental public body, and all its decisions are based on a thorough analysis of the evidence.
“The trade secretary’s decision will be published before the measure is due to expire on 30 June.”