In a significant development, Britain and the United States ended a four-year dispute over aluminium and steel tariffs and pledged to collaborate to counter China.
The trade deal sees the removal of US retaliatory tariffs a range of items including motorcycles, whiskey and other products.
In a joint statement, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the deal would protect steel and aluminum companies – and their workers – in both countries, allowing the allies to focus on what they say are “China’s unfair trade practices.”
The deal would also ease inflation in the US where consumer prices are seeing their highest level in 40 years, said Raimondo.
As part of the agreement, Britain will receive a duty-free import quota of over 500,000 tonnes of steel “melted and poured” in the country annually, with higher volumes subject to the 25% tariff.
It also sets smelt and cast requirements on aluminum, requiring importers to certify the origin of raw aluminum used, a move to combat subsidized metal from China and other countries.
Significantly, the deal requires U.K. steel companies owned by a Chinese entity to audit their financial records to assess influence from the People’s Republic of China government, and then share them with the United States. This will impact British Steel, which has been acquired by China’s Jingye Group in 2020. Washington has reached similar deals with the European Union and Japan.