President Trump has, in the early hours of this morning, issued proclamations to modify the Section 232 tariffs on steel an aluminium. This includes the extension of exemptions for the EU, Canada and Mexico whilst negotiations continue and the finalisation of an agreement with South Korea. Agreements in principle have also been reached with Argentina, Australia, and Brazil and are highly likely to be based on hard quotas based on a proportion of historical import levels (2016-17), similar to South Korea’s agreement.
Commenting on the announcement of an extension to the EU exemption from US steel tariffs, UK Steel Director, Gareth Stace said:
“Today’s announcement will be greeted with a certain sense of relief from UK steel producers. As the exemption deadline edged ever closer with no sign of a deal being struck, we had increasingly been expecting the worst and the immediate introduction of tariffs. A further extension to the EU exemption gives us a little more breathing room to continue discussions and find a way through the current impasse to reach a permanent agreement that works for all parties.
“However, this extension comes with a health-warning. 30 days does not give us much time and all signs point towards a US insistence on the restriction of steel exports by its allies. Such an outcome would be viewed in a dim light by many here; indeed for some it could have a greater impact than tariffs alone."
See Gareth's full statement below.