Labour Party Fails to Get Support to Reconsider TRA Recommendation
Business Live reported that a bid by UK’s opposition Labour Party to block the Trade Remedies Authority’s recommended removal of 9 steel products from the ambit of safeguard measures has failed by 355 to 271 votes in British Parliament.
Labour Party’s Shadow International Trade Secretary Ms Emily Thornberry opened the debate. She told how the review process had exposed three fundamental problems that there was no sense whatsoever to look at UK safeguards in isolation with eight out of 10 of the largest steel producers having such protections and China heading towards the one billion tonne steel production mark, with 300 million tonnes of spare capacity. Ms Thornberry also said “TRA review didn’t take into account the impact on the 34,000 jobs, exactly the kind of jobs in exactly the same places we are told to level up. There could be a knock on implication for defence, critical infrastructure and Net Zero emissions targets. Either the TRA remit needs to change so it can consider the global context of its recommendations and take into account their impact on our jobs, communities, regions, national defence, our civil infrastructure and our climate change objectives, or alternatively, the Secretary of State’s powers need to change to allow her to weigh up all those factors, against TRA analysis and make a decision, with parliament's approval, based on our overall national interest; what is best for Britain. One thing we should be certain of now is that the government cannot proceed with a decision on steel safeguards on the basis of recommendations by the TRA that have not even taken into account some of the most crucial factors at the heart of this discussion. If the Secretary of State refuses to act to protect our safeguard tariffs it will be an unquestionable betrayal of Britain’s steel communities, one they will never forget and one they will never forgive.”
UK’s Minister of State (Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change) at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Ms Anne-Marie Trevelyan said “I recognise the significant concern being expressed. The world has changed since 2018 when these powers were put in place, and so my department is very supportive of the Trade Secretary’s desire to review the domestic toolkit given the challenges of global trade. At the same time, I and my ministerial colleagues in BEIS will continue to devote our focus to the future of this important sector. UK industry will continue to need high quality steel and British Steel is amongst the best in the world. Making sure our steel industry has the right conditions to thrive is a key part of our efforts to reach Net Zero and level up across our country. There should be no doubt this government is committed to UK steel making. We are already working to protect jobs and to ensure the industry succeeds at securing a sustainable future.”