US, UK open talks to resolve steel, aluminium tariff dispute

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States (US) and Britain opened talks on Wednesday aimed at resolving the dispute over tariffs Washington placed on imported steel and aluminium during former president Donald Trump’s administration.

Citing the “serious threat” posed by excess global capacity of the metals, which the countries largely blamed on China, top trade officials from Washington and London said they are “committed to working towards an expeditious outcome”, according to a joint statement.

The tariffs imposed on US allies by the Trump administration caused friction with trading partners including Britain, which retaliated with punitive duties on American goods.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met virtually with Britain’s International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and pledged to find “effective solutions”.

The officials “discussed the impact on their industries stemming from global excess capacity driven largely by China. The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to market-oriented steel and aluminium industries in the US and the United Kingdom (UK), and to the workers in those industries”.

In June 2018, Trump imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium from several economies, saying he was acting on national security grounds, a claim rejected by critics.

Steel rods produced at the Gerdau Ameristeel mill in St Paul, Minnesota await shipment. PHOTO: AP