UK and US major steel deal starts TODAY as Britain eyes huge trade agreement in future

Measures were slapped on Britain in 2018 when Donald Trump was President, citing national security concerns. Tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium were introduced, heavily hitting the UK sector.

A deal was reached on ending the dispute in March but has only taken effect from today.

Ministers see the deal as the first step in boosting trade with Washington.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said when the deal was signed that “hopefully we can now move forward and focus on deepening our thriving trading relationship with the US”.

She said the deal meant “our manufacturers can now enjoy a high level of tariff-free access to the US market once again”.

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Ms Trevelyan added: “We have been clear from the start that we would only accept a solution that works for the UK and is in the best interests of both our steel and aluminium industries and this bespoke agreement does just that.

“Hopefully we can now move forward and focus on deepening our thriving trading relationship with the US.”

Months of negotiations took place in order to secure the agreement.

The deal restores tariff free trade of UK steel and aluminium to the US for set quotas.

Any exports to the US over the allowed amount will continue to face the tax measures.

When first signed, the agreement was welcomed by delighted steel manufacturers, which support the jobs of around 80,000 people across the UK.

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Director General of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, said: “This deal is the culmination of months of dedicated work from Anne-Marie Trevelyan and her department, removing long-standing export barriers and opening up access to the important and high-value US steel market.

“The benefits of this deal will be felt by steel companies and their employees right across the UK and is immensely welcome.”

Meanwhile, British Steel’s Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer, Allan Bell, said: “British Steel has a long-standing history of supplying quality steel into the US, and we welcome this agreement and the opportunities it will bring.”

In return for the US dropping the tariffs, the UK agreed to lift retaliatory duties.

Whiskey, Harley Davidson motorcycles and Levi’s jeans were all targeted with import tariffs in response to President Trump’s actions.

The UK remains eager to sign a free trade agreement with Washington and hopes further talks with the Joe Biden administration can take place in the months ahead.

However, there has been little indication from the White House that the President is willing to sign any such deal.

The UK has focused its efforts on striking agreements with individual US states in the meantime.

A trade pact was struck last week with Indiana with more state deals set to be unveiled later this year.