Last minute legislation to protect steel industry

Steel producers will be protected from a flood of cheap imports after the government introduced emergency legislation.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 8:00 pm

The last minute move comes after intense lobbying from industry and MPs across South Yorkshire.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss introduced a statutory instrument — emergency secondary legislation that does not go via parliament — to allow her to amend proposals from the Trade Remedies Authority.

She will now extend safeguard measures for 15 of the 19 sectors for an initial period of 12 months, having “reassessed” new data from the industry and concluding that only four could be safely removed.

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Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells
Liberty Speciality Steels, Stocksbridge. Picture: Chris Etchells

The Trade Remedies Authority had called for the removal of nine safeguards against steel ‘dumping’ in the UK. The body is independent of government.

The trade secretary could only accept the recommendations in full - or allow all 19 protective measures to fall.

The emergency legislation allows the TRA proposal to be amended.

Gareth Stace, director-general of trade body UK Steel, said: “The prime minister has said that he wants to take back control and today he has done just that and avoided a retreat from investment in our steelmaking, a reduction in the well-paid jobs that are part of the social fabric across the country and hampering any progress for government of levelling up.”

Yesterday, Labour’s shadow business secretary Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North, echoed Sheffield MPs in stating that ditching safeguards against steel ‘dumping’ in the UK would be a betrayal of the industry and communities across the country.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.