Sunday, August 7, 2022

Johnson vows to move forward with ‘rule-breaking’ plan to protect British Steel

The government is set to impose new steel tariffs on several countries in an effort to woo Red Wall voters – but critics say it breaks WTO rules

British steel firms should benefit from “the same protections” as European rivals, with Boris Johnson saying he has prepared to break WTO rules.

The government is set to impose new steel tariffs on several countries as part of an effort to woo Red Wall voters.

The Mirror reported last week how ministers wanted to extend for another two years measures to prevent cheap foreign imports from flooding the British market.

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The plan to maintain quotas and tariffs on some imports – which critics claim is a violation of WTO rules – contributed to the abandonment of Mr Johnson’s ethics adviser Lord Geidt earlier this month.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Bavaria, Mr Johnson said: “I think it is very important that people understand the context, and that is that the UK steel industry is going through a difficult time, partly in energy Was talking about the prices because of what I have.

Boris Johnson and his wife Kerry attend the first day of the G7 summit in Germany


Getty Images)

“We have a system in the UK where we don’t privilege our industry the way some other countries do.

“They pay a very high price for energy; we need to fix that.

“We need British Steel to provide very cheap energy and cheap electricity for its blast furnaces, but until we can fix that, I think other Europeans for UK steel, absolutely every other European – steel It’s fair to have the same security as the economy. It does.”

Rejecting the removal of tariffs, the PM said: “I don’t think this is the right way to proceed, I want another solution.

“The difficulty is, is it possible to do this within our WTO, our WTO obligations? That’s the problem.

“But these are tough choices you have to make.”

PM’s ethics chief Lord Geidt resigns in protest of Boris Johnson’s plans



Last week, trade body UK Steel warned that relaxing security could hit a £150million blow to the sector.

Gareth Stace, director general at the time, said: “Government interventions will protect against an anticipated surge in imports from trade diverted away from US and EU markets that will be protected for years to come.

“Such a surge would have put jobs, investments and our ability to transition to net-zero at risk.

“Maintaining security is also critical to the government’s level-up ambitions, with high-paying steel jobs concentrated in Yorkshire, Humberside and South Wales.”

Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas Symonds said steel is “a foundational sector for the UK’s national interest, as well as a cornerstone for jobs and communities across the country”.

The steel sector is worth £2.1 billion to the UK economy

He added: “Similar protections exist for the EU and the US.

“However, the government should do more to make our steel sector safer for future generations and put in place a plan to prevent any last-minute extension of critical measures.”

Shadow’s foreign secretary, David Lamy, initially said in an interview with Sky News that the idea “couldn’t be right”.

But he changed his stance shortly after, telling the BBC: “I think this is the extension he’s suggesting … we’ll support him. Steel staff support him.”

“Unions support it, industry supports it, labor supports it.”

The Mirror has been campaigning for Save Our Steel since 2015.

The sector directly employs 33,700 workers and supports another 42,000 positions in the supply chain. This is worth £2.1 billion to the UK economy.

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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