8 June 2018

The Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have issued a joint statement on the decision of the United States to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.

In force since 1 June, the tariffs are set at 10% on imports of aluminium and 25% on imports of steel into the US from the EU, Canada and Mexico (the same tariffs have applied to China since March).

The statement argues that the US move is unjustified and that the Government will continue to work with the EU to secure a European exemption from the tariffs.

Despite the country-wide application of the tariffs, it is still possible for specific products to be exempted from them.

How such exemptions can be achieved is one of the issues addressed in the DIT/BEIS statement.

The tariffs imposed under Section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962 include provision for individual companies to seek an exemption for their products, it explains.

That process is being led by the US Commerce Department, with the DIT and BEIS supporting British firms if they wish to seek exemptions.

Details can be found at https://bit.ly/2JfjYlU, but, in brief: only companies with business activities in the US can apply (UK firms without a presence in the US must work with end users to apply for an exemption), and approved product exemptions will only apply to the US firm applying (that is, each end user must apply separately even if they obtain their products from the same producer).

The DIT/BEIS note also sets out steps taken by the European Commission in response to the US action.