Today, the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) released findings on steel safeguard measures:
- A report of findings on the requested review of its 2021 transition review; and
Provisional conclusions on a review of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) concerning exceptions for developing countries, which is open for consultation until Wednesday 29 June.
Report of findings
The TRA publishes its report of findings which has been submitted to the Secretary of State for International Trade, setting out its analysis under the direction of the government. The TRA was asked to reconsider its initial review of the transition to the UK Steel Safeguard and the review was ‘called’ by the Secretary of State on 22 March 2022. The report of findings published allows third parties to understand the evidence considered by the secretary. of State, which shed light on the government’s proposals.
Draft Findings on Developing Country Exceptions
The TRA is also publishing its provisional findings in a separate review of steel tariff rate quotas to establish which developing countries should be exempted from these safeguards. Imports from certain developing countries may exceed 3% of total UK imports, which is the threshold for countries to be subject to the measure. Companies that import steel products from Vietnam, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China and Ukraine could be affected.
The TRA’s findings are published in its statement of intended final decision, which you can view on the public record. Companies and others who believe they might be affected by a change in quotas for steel products from developing countries can consult the findings of the TRA public filing. You can also view the list of affected product codes and the list of UK developing countries. Businesses can express interest and comment until Wednesday, June 29. The TRA’s final recommendation will be submitted to the Secretary of State for International Trade for final decision.
Other reviews regarding the steel safeguard measure
The TRA also undertook two other TRQ reviews. Current UK sanctions on imports from Russia and Belarus have prompted the TRA to review existing imports covered by the UK’s steel safeguard trade remedy. Two categories of steel products are concerned. Category 1 (non-alloy hot-rolled plate and strip and other alloys) is used in yellow products, construction, tube making and downstream steel production. Grade 13 (rebar) is used in construction, automotive, engineering, and white goods manufacturing. Russia and Belarus together accounted for around 22% of the UK’s rebar supply.
The TRA is also carrying out a TRQ review regarding updates to HMRC data on a small subset of steel product categories. The TRA review findings report aligns with findings to date.
- The Trade Remedies Authority is the UK body that reviews whether trade remedies are needed for imports. Trade remedy investigations were carried out by the European Commission on behalf of the UK until the UK left the EU.
- Safeguard measures are one of three types of trade remedy measures – along with anti-dumping measures which counter the “dumping” of goods into countries at prices below their normal price in their country of origin and countervailing measures against countervailable subsidies – which are permitted under the Rules of the Trade Organization (WTO).
- Forty-four EU trade remedy measures of interest to UK producers were transposed into UK law when the UK left the EU and the TRA is due to review each of them to see if they are suitable for the UK’s needs -United.
- As part of this process, the TRA considered a safeguard measure on certain steel products and issued its recommendation in June 2021. The TRA recommended that the measures be extended to certain steel products but removed for others, when they were not necessary. The TRA was then asked to reconsider this decision. The review was “called” by the Secretary of State for International Trade. The TRA is completing the review under his guidance and we expect the outcome to be announced soon.
- Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) are part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. They specify how much of a product can be imported from a country before its imports are subject to higher tariffs. The UK’s trade remedy system follows WTO rules and is designed to ensure that UK industries are not harmed by unfair trading practices or unexpected increases in imports.
- The UK has the power to review its tariff rate quotas on imports covered by safeguard measures to ensure that its safeguard measures remain up to date and effective. This is not part of the reconsideration process.
- The TRA carried out this TRQ review because imports from some developing countries could exceed 3% of total UK imports. Imports from developing countries qualify for exceptions to these TRQs if the imported goods represent less than 3% of total imports of that product and if collectively these low-volume exporters do not represent more than 9% of imports. of this product.
- WTO members are responsible for managing their own developing country exceptions to TRQs and should review these exceptions regularly to see if countries should be added or removed from the exception.