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UK to extend tariffs on steel imports for two years

Britain will extend a package of quotas and tariffs on foreign steel imports for two years in an effort to protect domestic steelmakers, trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced.

Trevelyan admitted the move would pose a legal challenge to the World Trade Organisation, which oversees world trade, but said it was essential to protect Britain’s steel industry.

“We have concluded that it is in the UK’s economic interest to maintain safeguards to reduce the risk of material damage if they are not enforced,” she told the House of Commons.

The government will extend existing steel tariffs, largely for developed countries and China, for another two years. At the same time, it will extend import limits to other mainly developing countries – which were previously exempt – to prevent a flood of steel imports.

Trevelyan said Ukraine would not be involved in that decision to help its steel industry.

The UK inherited “safeguards” in 2018 when it was still part of the EU and has since rolled over most of them.

The limits, which apply to 15 steel grades, restrict how much a country can export to Britain before being hit by a 25 percent tariff.

Shadow trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds welcomed the decision and said it would be a “welcome relief” for the steel industry but criticized the government for failing to act more quickly.

Lord Christopher Geidt resigned as Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser this month after he rejected the plan to violate international law through the steel tariffs.

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