(PresidentialInsider.com)- Last week, the United States and Great Britain announced a deal that would lift US tariffs on British steel and aluminum that comes in below new quotas on the imports. In return, the UK agreed to lift retaliatory tariffs on US exports of consumer products including whiskey.
In 2018, former President Donald Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum, arguing that foreign metal imports were a threat to US national security. The move outraged the UK, the European Union, and other US allies.
Critics of the former president’s move argued at the time that Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs did little to address the primary problem affecting US steel and aluminum producers, namely, overproduction by the Communist Chinese. However, the US already shuts out most Chinese steel.
While President Biden vocally criticized Trump for the move, accusing him of alienating US friends, the president was slow to undo the metal tariffs which were popular in steel-producing states.
Last year, the Biden administration secured a deal with the European Union to drop the tariffs on EU metals that come in below new import quotas while continuing to tax imports that exceed them. But now that the UK is no longer an EU member state, a separate deal was required.
In the US/UK agreement forged last Tuesday in Baltimore, any Chinese-owned steel companies in the UK must undergo annual audits to make sure no cheap Chinese steel is slipping into the United States tariff-free.
In a statement last week, the CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, Chris Swonger, praised the deal. Swonger said American whiskey producers welcome an end “to this long tariff nightmare.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the deal “fantastic news” and a “welcome boost” to Britain’s steel and aluminum industries.
The deal will take effect on June 1.