Commenting on Donald Trump’s announcement of plans to impose tariffs of 25% on all steel and aluminium imports to the USA, Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, home of the Port Talbot Steelworks said:
“This reckless and impetuous announcement from Donald Trump is deeply worrying for the British steel industry, centred on the Port Talbot steelworks in my Aberavon constituency.
“Around 10% of Tata Steel UK’s exports are to the United States, and are largely made up of the most sophisticated and high-tech steel products in the world, much of which the Americans cannot produce themselves.
“So Trump is set to cut of his own nose to spite his face, threatening jobs in the United States as well as the UK, and all because he has gone looking for another distraction from a week of scandal and incompetence in the White House.
“Theresa May has talked at length about the ‘special relationship’ with Trump’s America; well now that will be put to the test. She was willing to hold Donald Trump’s hand on her White House visit, but steelworkers will judge the Prime minister on her ability to force his hand on these ill-judged tariffs.
“The way to tackle illegal Chinese steel dumping is through coordinated international action, not blanket tariffs that will hit those who play by the rules, like the UK. The Prime Minister must make that clear to Trump, and show that she is willing to fight to Save Our Steel.
“We must see, as a minimum, high quality British steel products exported to the USA exempted from this tariff, something that should be the case for exports from all fellow NATO members as well.
”This farce further highlights the importance of the government amending the Customs [Taxation (Cross Border Trade)] Bill to ensure we have proper trade defence instruments after Brexit, particularly when it comes to the calculation of dumping. In conjunction with American tariffs, the lack of proper measures to combat dumping risks leaving a post-Brexit Britain acutely vulnerable to Chinese dumping.
“I have one simple message for Donald Trump: you won’t help American workers by thumping British steelworkers. British and American steelworkers have stood together in solidarity against illegal Chinese dumping; it is about time that our political leaders, Prime Ministers and Presidents, followed steelworkers lead in standing together, not turning on one another, to tackle the scourge of dumping with focused not blanket measures.”