Hopes for progress toward an end to tariffs on United States aluminium assessed by the United Kingdom spring anew after the British government agreed to halt retaliatory tariffs on American goods beginning on January 1.
In a split from the European Union’s trade policies, London agreed to suspend the tariffs that were implemented last year after a decision by the World Trade Organization that such retaliatory tariffs were in order after Washington, D.C. levied US$7.5 billion in tariffs on imported British goods.
“Ultimately, we want to de-escalate the conflict and come to a negotiated settlement so we can deepen our trading relationship with the U.S. and draw a line under all this,” commented British trade minister Liz Truss in a related statement.
She continued by noting that a final agreement on the issue was still not in place, and her government would saddle tariffs back onto United States imports “if satisfactory progress towards an agreeable settlement is not made.”
The détente on tariffs would go into effect on January 1, the very first day after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. It does not include tariffs on aluminium goods, as Britain sees them as still necessary to protect its domestic producers.
The split between the two countries’ governments came as a result of differences regarding each side’s subsidies to aircraft firms Boeing and Airbus. Aluminium products entered the frame when the United States government assigned a tariff on imports of the same following a Section 232 investigation. The United Kingdom quickly responded by assessing tariffs of its own while maintaining that imports from their suppliers posed no national security threat to the United States.
Though the tariffs will remain in place for now, Truss assured the American government that her ministry would begin a dialogue with aluminium producers to help fine tune them to better protect domestic industry.