Unions call for action to protect steel industry after Trump announcement

Unions in the UK have called for action to protect the steel industry after the US yesterday extended its tariff exemption for EU steel imports until June.

Roy Rickhuss, chair of the national trade union steel co-ordinating committee and general secretary of Community said: “While this extension is welcome because it provides us with additional time to make our case for a permanent exemption, this still does not resolve the problems created by the Trump tariffs. We will still need defence measures needed against the displacement of steel that the US policy will generate.

“There is also now some discussion about the US placing quotas on steel imports instead of tariffs. A policy of quotas could be just as damaging to UK and EU steel exporters and any proposals need to be carefully examined. This issue is far from over, we’ve always said that these tariffs are not the answer to the challenges in the global steel market, and we will continue to make the case for a negotiated solution, not a damaging trade war.”

Unite national officer for steel Tony Brady said: “There must be a global solution that deals with countries responsible for overcapacity and the dumping of cheap steel and aluminum. Trump is playing misguided games and it is clear the prime minister and international trade secretary Liam Fox now count for little in Washington. A thirty-day respite from punitive tariffs, whilst welcome, is not the answer.UK steelworkers and steel producers are not the villains. Countries responsible for massive over production, unfair subsidies, dumping and banning imports, such as China, Russia, Indonesia and others are at the heart of the problem.”

GMB national officer Ross Murdoch GMB said: “UK steelworkers have fought to keep Britain’s steel industry alive in the face of government inaction. They will continue to fight to protect their livelihoods and communities – and British manufacturing, but they need to be given a fighting chance. Theresa May and her government can back UK steelworkers with an active industrial strategy that ensures UK steel is at its heart and used in major infrastructure and defence projects.”

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