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US-British deal on steel, aluminum and free trade postponed

US-British deal on steel, aluminum and free trade postponed

04:06 pm

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Washington / London (AFP):

The United States and the United Kingdom settled their dispute over steel and aluminum on Tuesday, but the Biden administration was in no hurry to resume talks on a free trade agreement desired by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“This important agreement will not only help ensure the long-term credibility of our steel and aluminum industries, but will also protect US jobs and end more than $ 500 million in retaliation,” said U.S. Trade Secretary Gina Raymond and US Trade Representative Catherine Day. In a joint statement on U.S. exports to the United Kingdom, including liquor, various agricultural products and consumer goods.

The report comes shortly after British International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Travelyan’s visit to the United States.

As a result, Boris Johnson tweeted, “Great and welcome news promoting our steel and aluminum industries.”

The two US officials assured that the new agreement would enable the import of “historic and standard quantities of UK steel and aluminum products without the use of Section 232 tariffs”.

“Across the United States, distilleries are celebrating the end of their long-held duty dreams,” the American Spirits Council said, adding that American whiskey is subject to 25% tax in the UK.

The two countries announced in January the start of bilateral talks to end this controversy, which dates back to the Trump era, and its administration in June 2018 imposed additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from several countries, including the UK. These penalty duties are 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum.

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In October, President Joe Biden’s administration reached another similar agreement with the European Union and Japan in February.

Therefore, the agreement will contribute one more step in improving relations between the two countries, which are still different in support of aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.

Annemarie Trevelyan said she hoped the agreement would make it “possible to move forward … and focus on deepening our growing trade relationship with the United States.”

However, this is only a small step compared to the massive free trade agreement demanded by Boris Johnson, who prioritized the signing of a bilateral agreement with the United States after Brexit from January 1, 2021.

However, despite the Trump administration (2017-2021) agreeing to a bilateral agreement with London and continuing negotiations with it, the Biden administration ignored the issue.

In addition, the United States imposed a condition between any possible agreement and strict compliance with the Northern Ireland Peace Accord.

“Some time ago”

On Tuesday, Trevlion acknowledged that London had been wanting a deal with Washington “for some time” and said his government had not given up.

The British Minister stressed that his country was not only seeking to abolish customs duties, but also to “establish trade relations between the two powers with common values ​​at the level of the twenty – first century.”

Tai, for his part, called for “creativity” when it comes to trading tools, pointing out that a free trade agreement is not on the agenda.

Marjorie Carlins, vice president of European affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said: “There is a general desire to find ways to improve relations … I do not think it will be a way. A free trade agreement, at least not at any time.”

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Trevelyan and Ty said they would continue their business conversation “in April, in Scotland” this time. “I do not want to pre-determine or pre-determine … where this conversation will take us,” Catherine Day said.