In Parliament this week I urged the UK Government to meet with steel industry representatives to discuss safeguards for the sector in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
UK Steel, the trade association representing steel manufacturers in Britain, has warned that the export of some 2.6 million tonnes of UK produced steel to the EU each year would be affected by the additional administration, costs and border delays associated with a no deal Brexit. The trade body have also warned that new EU steel safeguards, coupled with US steel tariffs and the loss of EU Free Trade Agreements, would mean severe disruption for UK steel exports in a no deal scenario.
Speaking in International Trade Questions, I said: “When the All Party Steel Group met with key voices in the industry this week it was clear that there has been a lack of engagement on steel safeguard measures for the UK market in a no deal scenario. Will the Minister commit to meet with UK Steel urgently to discuss this critical detail for an industry that contributes £1.6billion directly to our economy?”
In response, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox MP said the Government was discussing safeguards with industry.
When the All Party Steel Group met with representatives from the steel industry in Parliament this week there was a common theme: uncertainty. There is a palpable feeling across the sector that the Government has not recognised the serious implications of a ‘no deal’ Brexit for UK steel companies. UK Steel have highlighted that departure from the EU without an agreement would mean duties or quotas in markets accounting for 97 per cent of outbound steel shipments, up from about 15% at present. It’s time for Ministers to get their act together and ensure that measures are in place to protect our steel industry’s competitiveness and ability to service customers without disruption from March onwards.