The U.S. government has announced an agreement to end tariffs on steel and aluminium, while the UK will now lift levies on American whiskey, tobacco, jeans, and motorcycles, in an apparent Brexit boosting deal.
Due to the European Union – which Britain was part of until 2020 – imposing tariffs on American products to retaliate for levies made under Trump in 2018, the UK remained under and maintained tariffs on American goods. Under this week’s new deal, Britain will lift tariffs on $500 million American imports, from items such as alcohol or consumer goods. The announcement sees a victory for steel and aluminium sectors, which support the jobs of roughly 80,000 workers across the UK.
Following successful negotiations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to his Twitter to call the deal “fantastic news” and a “very welcome boost” to steel and aluminium industries. The UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade also took the opportunity to triumph over the agreement, calling it “good news” for vital industries hit, further stating that “UK producers can enjoy tariff free access to the US market again.”
In addition to tariff removals, the new deal also instructs that any British steel company “owned by a Chinese entity must undertake an audit of their financial records to assess influence from the People’s Republic of China Government” which will then be shared with the United States, according to the Commerce Department.
However, there has been no sign of progress towards a free trade agreement between the US and UK following its departure from the European Union. Senior Vice President at the US Chamber of Commerce, Marjorie Chorlins, has confirmed that a new trade pact remains unlikely, “at least not anytime soon.” Despite Trump officials seeming ready to create a new bilateral agreement, even previously opening negotiations, the Biden administration has shown very little indication of going forward with them.
The new trade changes will take affect 1 June 2022. Meanwhile, the UK remains eager to demonstrate the success of its EU departure by persisting with more post-Brexit trade agreements.