Britain to present steel trade safeguard plan

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Stainless steel tubes are stored ready to be made into exhausts at the Eminox factory in Gainsborough, Britain October 30, 2018. Christopher Furlong/Pool via REUTERS

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LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) – Britain will present its steel trade safeguard plan on Wednesday, days after it proposed broader tariffs to protect local steelmakers in a move that could breach international trade rules.

Trade Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan will make a statement in Parliament on steel safeguards after 11.30am GMT, the House of Commons leader said on Twitter. These safeguards can include import restrictions ranging from tariffs to quotas.

Britain last week proposed extending a set of tariffs and quotas on five steel products for two years. Read more

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A move to extend steel tariffs could breach World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations and antagonize local manufacturers who depend on foreign steel and say domestic steelmakers have failed to respond to demand. Read more

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has argued that Britain should not unilaterally scrap tariffs without other European countries also doing so. Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said there was a “strong argument” to support the domestic steel industry because other G7 countries were doing the same. Read more

The Times newspaper reported this week without citing a source that Trevelyan supported extending tariffs but warned that countries like India, Turkey and South Korea would be entitled to retaliate with their own safeguard measures.

A year ago, the government introduced new rules to protect the local steel industry, which employs nearly 34,000 people and has an annual turnover of around $2 billion.

Last year, Britain retained quotas and tariffs inherited from the European Union on 10 grades of steel for three years. But on five products, backups have been temporarily extended for a year.

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Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and William James; Editing by Alistair Smout and Alison Williams

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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