UK set to review tariffs on US imports

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The UK government has opened a consultation into a new approach to tariffs implemented in response to US steel and aluminum duties.


The UK government has announced a new consultation that will review the tariffs on US goods imposed as part of a dispute over steel and aluminum duties.

Currently, the UK places taxes on a range of US products, including whiskey, tobacco and motorcycles, in response to US levies on metal imports introduced under the administration of Donald Trump.

These tariffs were initiated by the EU and retained on a rollover basis when the UK left the bloc at the start of the year.

However, the EU has sought to defuse the row by scrapping planned increases to its tariffs that were due to come into effect from the start of June, and the UK is signaling its own willingness to look again at the situation now it is no longer required to follow Brussels' rules.

The dispute began in 2018 when the Trump administration added new tariffs to metal imports from the EU. These duties were imposed under section 232 of its Trade Expansion Act, which allows tariffs to be applied if imports would harm US national security. 

UK international trade secretary Liz Truss said: "We now have the power to shape these tariffs so they reflect UK interests, and are tailored to our economy.

"We want to deescalate these disputes so we can move forward and work closely with the US on issues like WTO reform and tackling unfair trade practices by non-market economies."

However, Ms Truss added the UK will continue to do what is necessary to protect its steel industry against what she described as "illegal tariffs" that harm British businesses.

The consultation will look at ensuring any future tariffs applied in response to the US' duties on aluminum and steel imports are shaped to UK interests. It will last for six weeks, after which the government will announce any decision on rebalancing measures.