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Britain presses U.S. for quick move on steel, aluminum tariffs

Britain presses U.S. for quick move on steel, aluminum tariffs 1

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – British trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan on Wednesday said she had invited U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to visit London in January to make progress on removing U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum and the threat of UK retaliatory tariffs.

Trevelyan and Raimondo met in Washington on Wednesday, following the UK minister’s meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday.

In a joint statement after the meeting, Britain and the United States said the two officials discussed “finding a path early in the new year … to engage expeditiously in consultations on steel and aluminum, with a view to combating global excess capacity and addressing outstanding concerns on U.S. tariffs and UK countermeasures.”

Resolving the dispute would benefit workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, and “would remove the need for the UK to levy retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods,” Trevelyan said in a separate statement issued by the British embassy.

She said she hoped Raimondo’s visit would allow the two allies make progress on the steel and aluminum tariffs and ” focus on taking our thriving trading relationship to the next level.”

Trevelyan had hoped to ensure some progress on the issue before Jan. 1, a senior British official said earlier Wednesday, citing growing pressure in Britain for it to raise its retaliatory tariffs on whiskey and other U.S. products.

Britain, which exited the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020, is keen to join a U.S.-EU pact struck in October that allows duty-free entry for “limited volumes” of EU-produced metals into the United States, while retaining U.S. “Section 232” tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum more broadly.

British firms will face increased pressure from Jan. 1, when tariffs on EU goods drop as a result of the US-EU deal. The EU dropped retaliatory tariffs against the United States after the EU deal with Washington.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and David Gregorio)

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