UK consults on new approach to US tariffs ‘to de-escalate trade tensions’


The UK is today launching a review of tariffs against the US in response to the ongoing trade conflict around steel and aluminium.

A public consultation has opened aimed at ensuring any future tariffs applied in response to the US’ ‘Section 232’ duties on aluminium and steel imports are shaped to UK interests.

The UK currently has measures in place on products like whiskey, motorcycles and tobacco in response to US tariffs. Originally brought in by the EU, these measures were rolled over by the UK at the start of the year.

Today’s announcement will help ensure these measures are tailored to the needs of the UK economy and shaped to defend industries across the UK, including steel and aluminium manufacturers.

The International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has held discussions with the US about the issue, and is pressing for the removal of the tariffs and an agreement that will deescalate the dispute.

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. The UK will do whatever is necessary to protect our steel industry against illegal tariffs that could undermine British industry and damage our businesses. Ultimately, however, 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.”

The consultation launch is part of the government’s strategy to de-escalate trade tensions so the US and UK can move forward to the next phase of their trading relationship. The consultation will now run for six weeks. The government will publish its decision on the re-balancing measures alongside a summary of responses to the consultation once it has considered all the evidence.