According to trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK government has prolonged steel tariffs for an additional two years in order to comply with its “international legal commitments.”
The steel tariffs were implemented before the UK left the EU to combat what the government refers to as “dumping,” in which nations make steel at a lower cost and sell it for less on the global market to undercut rivals.
When the UK exited the EU, it carried over tariffs that applied to 19 kinds of steel imported into the country. An important sector of the UK economy, steel employs 34,000 people and generates £2 billion in revenue annually.
The prolongation implies that until 2024, taxes will still apply to some imports of steel.
Noble Francis, the director of CPA’s economics division, said in a statement about the continuation of tariffs that steel manufacturers have been troubled in recent months by issues other than tariffs.
The surge in energy prices, the rising cost of commodities, and the decline in supply from Russia and Ukraine, he claimed, are the bigger problems for steel producers and pricing than tariffs.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), “the price of manufactured structural steel in April 2022 was 46% more than a year earlier, while the price of concrete reinforcing bars was 62% higher than a year earlier.”
Francis claims that 13% of steel imports last year came from Russia and Ukraine, with supply being severely hampered by the ongoing conflict in the former Soviet Union.
Steel is energy-intensive, and energy expenses make up between 25% and 33% of the total costs for energy-intensive enterprises, Francis continued. Commodity price spikes have also caused ore and steel price increases.
The construction industry has been affected by increases in steel prices.
In May, HS2 Chief Executive Mark Thurston stated that “you’re seeing a sort of 30-40% swing in the cost of raw material” and claimed that the price of steel had increased from from £350 per tonne to more than £800 per tonne.
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