Trade Unions Warn of Job Losses in UK’s Steel Sector
The Mirror reported that UK Steel Director General Mr Gareth Stace has warned that the UK’s steel industry would be left exposed to uncontrolled surges in imports if recommendations from the Trade Remedies Authority are approved. He said “UK Steel figures show that the proposed weakening of the safeguards could cost the sector an estimated GBP 100 million as a result of increased imports and subsequent reduced market share and profitability for UK producers. This loss in sales is equivalent to 50% of the entire capital investment of steel producers each year or 2,500 employees, 8% of the total employment in the sector. Such a knock to profits would likely see a mixture of job losses as well as sharp contractions to capital investment made in the sector in future years, jeopardising the sector’s ability to innovate, modernise and decarbonise.”
Urging ministers to overturn the recommendation, Mr Stace said “The Government must urgently intervene to support the sector and ensure the right decision is made. Inaction will simply condemn the UK steel industry to competing in an unfair trading environment, facing barriers to export while not having adequate defences at home. We would lose share of our home market while not being able to offset this with export gains. We want to work with the Government to level up Britain; instead, they are levelling down our steel sector.”
Community steelworkers' union operations director Mr Alasdair McDiarmid said “The steel safeguards protect us from being flooded by cheap foreign imports and it would be an unforgivable act of self-harm to give up our protections when the EU and the US are maintaining their own defences. This Government has had plenty of warm words for steelworkers but we need action now; failure would make a mockery of Tory promises to support British industry, British workers and industrial communities.”
UK’s International Trade Secretary Ms Liz Truss is poised to scrap safeguards aimed at protecting the sector from cheap foreign imports. She is expected to announce within days that she is accepting a recommendation to axe defences.
Following a review, UK’s Trade Remedies Authority has published its final recommendation to UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade on the future of the UK’s steel safeguard measure in mid June. After reviewing available evidence, the independent body has recommended the extension of the UK steel safeguard measure across 10 product categories for a further three years and the revocation of the measure across nine product categories.
Non Alloy Wire
Non Alloy and Other Alloy Wire Rod
Stainless Wire Rod
Non Alloy and other alloy cold finished bars
Stainless Bars and Light Sections
Angles, Shapes and Sections of Iron or Non Alloy Steel
Non Alloy and Other Alloy Merchant Bars and Light Sections
Non Alloy and Other Alloy Quarto Plates
Tin Mill products
Protections were introduced by the EU in 2018 when the UK was part of EU’s trade rules, in retaliation for Mr Donald Trump's White House slapping tariffs on steel imports. The EU measures carried on in Britain until January when the Brexit transition ended. Measures were extended until June end