The U.K. Government announced its plans to suspend retaliatory tariffs imposed on $4 billion worth of US products as part of longstanding trade conflicts between the EU and US around steel and aluminium, and aerospace. The Department for International Trade will suspend the tariffs from January 1, when the country becomes an independent trading nation once again.
With the move, Britain aims to bring the US towards a reasonable settlement and to reduce trade tensions, following years-long dispute over aircraft subsidies to aircraft manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus SE.
The U.K. government hopes to move forward to the next phase of their trading relationship, and ultimately draw a line under a dispute that harms industry on both sides of the Atlantic.
In a statement, the U.K. government said, “We want to de-escalate the conflict and come to a negotiated settlement so we can deepen our trading relationship with the US and draw a line under all this. … also showing the US we are serious about ending a dispute that benefits neither country.”
The UK now said International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is rolling over tariffs in response to the unjustified ‘Section 232’ tariffs imposed by the US on aluminium and steel imports.
In 2018, the U.S. Government announced that under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962 it would place tariffs on EU imports of steel and aluminium. The UK noted that these ongoing tariffs are unjustified under WTO rules and unfairly target UK steel and aluminium manufacturers and should be removed.
In 2019, the U.S. placed tariffs on $7.5 billion of EU products.
Regarding the 16-year-long dispute between Airbus and Boeing, the UK noted that the WTO Appellate Body, the final court of appeal at the WTO, definitively ruled in 2019 that the US has continued to unlawfully subsidize aircraft manufacturer Boeing, causing significant harm to Airbus.
Following the findings, the EU last month was authorized in a WTO arbitration, and placed retaliatory tariffs on $4 billion worth of US products.
The UK now said the trade department will launch a consultation to ensure these tariffs are shaped to UK interests and tailored to the UK economy.
The government reserves the right to impose tariffs at any point if satisfactory progress towards an agreeable settlement is not made.
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