New deal allows UK steel and aluminum products to enter US market duty-free and remove UK's retaliatory tariffs on American products.

Britain will lift retaliatory tariffs it imposed on $500 million in American imports, including alcohol and consumer goods.
Britain will lift retaliatory tariffs it imposed on $500 million in American imports, including alcohol and consumer goods. (AP)

The United States has announced an agreement with Britain to end tariffs on steel and aluminium imports imposed by former president Donald Trump in 2018 on national security grounds.

"By allowing for a flow of duty-free steel and aluminium from the UK, we further ease the gap between supply and demand for these products in the United States," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement on Tuesday.

"And by removing the UK's retaliatory tariffs, we reopen the British market to beloved American products."

The deal was the latest in a series of efforts by President Joe Biden to settle trade spats with US allies, some of which were long-running and others started under the Trump administration.

Washington and London in January announced the start of negotiations to end the dispute, which began when Trump imposed levies of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium imports from Britain, and other nations to protect US industry, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, Britain will lift retaliatory tariffs it imposed on $500 million in American imports, including alcohol and consumer goods, the statement said.

READ MORE: US tariffs on French, German products take effect over aircraft spat

Ending retaliation

It also stipulates that any British steel company "owned by a Chinese entity must undertake an audit of their financial records to assess influence from the People's Republic of China government," the results of which will be shared with the United States, the Commerce Department said.

The agreement followed two days of talks between US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and British International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan in the port city of Baltimore on the broader trade relationship.

Trevelyan also met with Raimondo to finalise the metals deal.

In a statement, Tai said the agreement "delivers on President Biden's vision to repair relationships with our allies while also helping to ensure the long-term viability of our steel and aluminium industries."

US industry was more cautious in its praise, noting the benefits the tariffs provided to aluminum and steel manufacturers.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine should remind us all just how critical the domestic steel industry is to our national and economic security," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

"Section 232 quotas and tariffs have permitted the American steel industry to recover, invest, hire, and contribute robustly to our national defense," he said, calling for a pause in more such deals to allow the industry to adjust.

READ MORE: WTO says US tariffs on Chinese goods in 2018 were inconsistent with rules

Free trade deal?

Trevalyan and Tai said they would continue their talks next month in Scotland.

"Hopefully we can now move forward and focus on deepening our thriving trading relationship with the US," the British official said.

However, there was no indication of progress towards a free trade agreement between the two countries –– a priority of Britain following its departure from the European Union.

Marjorie Chorlins, senior vice president for European Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, who took part in discussions in Baltimore on Monday, said a trade pact is not likely "at least not anytime soon."

Trump officials seemed ready to make a new bilateral arrangement with London and had even opened negotiations, but the Biden administration has shown little indication of wanting to continue them.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies