The United States and the United Kingdom Agree to Cessation of Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Husch Blackwell LLP

On March 22, 2022, the United States and the United Kingdom announced in a joint statement that the U.S. will halt Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the U.K, effective June 1, 2022, and that the U.K. will also lift retaliatory tariffs on over $500 million worth of U.S. exports to the U.K.  The Section 232 tariffs were instituted in March 2018 on all imports of steel and aluminum from multiple countries.  During the summer of 2018 there were negotiated exclusions on a country-by-country basis.  In May 2019 with the signing of the USMCA Free Trade Agreement, Section 232 duties were dropped on imports from Canada and Mexico as well.  The U.S. and U.K agreement is the latest in continuing efforts by the U.S. to address the issue of Chinese overcapacity in both the steel and aluminum industries.  One unique aspect of the U.S.-U.K. agreement is that the U.S. will require that any U.K. steel company owned by a Chinese entity must undertake a financial audit to determine and assess the extent of influence on that entity from the Chinese Government, the results of which the U.K must share with the U.S.

The Secretary of Commerce, Gina M. Raimondo said in a statement that it is a “top priority to rebuild {U.S.} relationships with {its} allies and partners around the world” and this agreement is a step towards reaching that goal in a manner that benefits the American steel and aluminum industries.  Secretary Raimondo also stated that allowing the “flow of duty-free steel and aluminum from the U.K.” will help ease the “gap between supply and demand for these products in the United States.”

Following the announcement on Tuesday, many industry associations and organizations have voiced their support for this agreement including the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the Steel Manufacturers Association, the United Steelworkers union, and the Kentucky Distillers Association.  All of whom were affected by the four years of additional tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the U.K., and exports of various goods from the United States.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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