Biden axes trade tariffs to EU in gushing speech '
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Eurosceptics have hailed a deal which will see Washington remove section 232 tariffs and re-open tariff-free access for British aluminium and steel exports to the US. Boris Johnson, the central figure in the 2016 Vote Leave campaign who then vowed to ‘Get Brexit Done’ in the 2019 General Election, took to Twitter to welcome the “fantastic news”.
He said: “This is fantastic news and a very welcome boost to our steel and aluminium industries.
“Thank you @AnnieTrev and team for securing this bespoke agreement with our American friends.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng joined the Prime Minister in voicing praise for Anne Marie-Trevelyan’s work.
The Spelthorne MP posted: “Excellent news for Britain’s steel and aluminium sectors who had been unfairly hit by these tariffs.”
Twitter user @MarkVipond responded to the news by claiming this was yet another example of a “tangible benefit of Brexit”.
However, not everyone praised the UK Government for the breakthrough.
@buchanan17 said: “So 5 months after the EU got the same deal.
“Well done you!”
According to the Department of International Trade, the US announced the removal of section 232 tariffs two months into negotiations.
The Brexit-backing International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the announcement is “good news” for the industry and underpinned “thriving” Anglo-American trade relations.
She said: “Today’s announcement is good news for our steel and aluminium industries who have been unfairly hit by these tariffs, and the 80,000 people employed across the sector.
“It means our manufacturers can now enjoy a high level of tariff-free access to the US market once again.
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“We have been clear from the start that we would only accept a solution that works for the UK and is in the best interests of both our steel and aluminium industries and this bespoke agreement does just that.
“Hopefully we can now move forward and focus on deepening our thriving trading relationship with the US.”
The changes will take effect from June 1 and the UK will reciprocate the favour by suspending rebalancing measures on a range of American products, including whiskey.
Both countries have also agreed to work more closely to address the issue of excess steel capacity and market-distorting prices.
UK Steel’s director-general Gareth Stace argued the announcement was a “hugely positive” outcome for the steel industry.
He said: “I would like to congratulate the Government on behalf of the entire steel sector for its success in these hard-fought negotiations which have resulted in a hugely positive outcome for UK steelmakers.
“This deal is the culmination of months of dedicated work from Anne-Marie Trevelyan and her department, removing long-standing export barriers and opening up access to the important and high-value US steel market.
“The benefits of this deal will be felt by steel companies and their employees right across the UK and is immensely welcome.”
Allan Bell, British Steel’s Chief Commercial and Procurement Officer, said the agreement would bring “opportunities” and strengthen the industry’s relation with US customers.
He claimed: “British Steel has a long-standing history of supplying quality steel into the US, and we welcome this agreement and the opportunities it will bring.
“We’ll work with UK Government to provide any necessary information and look forward to further strengthening relations with our US customers to deliver the products they require.”
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of The Wine and Spirit Trade Association suggested the end of tariffs would give British drinkers a “world-class” selection of whiskies to choose from.
He said: “Today’s announcement that the rebalancing measures on US whiskies are to be lifted is very welcome news.
“The end of these tariffs will provide great encouragement to UK spirits importers, and a significant boost to the UK hospitality industry as it recovers from lockdown.
“British drinkers will once again have a wider selection of world-class whiskies to choose from and lifting tariffs will encourage greater investment in the UK spirits industry by the US.
“Whiskey drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic will raise a glass to today’s announcement.”
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