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US agrees to lift taxes on British steel, aluminium

AP – The United States (US) has agreed to lift tariffs on British steel and aluminium, mending a rift between allies that dates back to the Trump administration.

At a meeting on Tuesday in Baltimore, the US and the United Kingdom (UK) announced a deal that would remove taxes on British steel and aluminum that comes in below new quotas on the imports.

The British agreed to lift retaliatory tariffs on US exports.

In 2018, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, calling the foreign metals a threat to US national security – a move that outraged the British, Europeans and other longstanding American allies.

Although President Joe Biden had criticised Trump for alienating America’s friends, he was slow once taking office to undo the metals tariffs, popular in the politically important steel-producing states.

Steel rods produced in the US await shipment. PHOTO: AP

Last year, the Biden administration reached a deal with the European Union (EU), agreeing to drop the tariffs on EU metals that come in below new import quotas and continuing to tax imports that exceed them.

Critics said all along that Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs did little to address the real problem confronting American producers of steel and aluminium: overproduction by China.

But the US already shuts out most Chinese steel.

Under the agreement announced on Tuesday, Chinese-owned steel companies in Britain must undergo annual audits to ensure that cheap Chinese steel can’t slip into the US tariff free.

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