US refuses to remove UK metal tariffs over Brexit

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Talks on tariffs cannot progress while the Northern Ireland issue remains up in the air, the US has claimed.

The US will not be removing the tariffs on UK metal imports currently in place amid its concerns over Brexit and Article 16, it has been reported.

Former US president Donald Trump imposed levies of 25 per cent on steel and ten per cent on aluminum back in 2018, and they are to be removed for the European Union on January 1st 2022.

However, according to a document seen by the Financial Times, a US Commerce Department official has now said that the same benefit will not be applied for Britain because of its stance on trade rules affecting Northern Ireland.

The US had already expressed fears that any move towards invoking Article 16 may threaten the Good Friday Accord and the overall peace process in the nation.

This is likely to mean that once the new year starts, metal producers in the EU will gain a significant advantage in price over their UK counterparts.

A spokesperson for Britain's Department of Trade said: "We do not see any connection with this particular issue and the Northern Ireland Protocol and it will in no way affect the UK's approach [to Brexit negotiations]."

UK international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is to travel to Washington next week and it is expected that these tariffs will be among the issues she raises with her American counterparts as a matter of urgency.