The MP for Sheffield South East brought attention to the issue facing engineering firms in the city, such as Tinsley Bridge and Forged Solutions, who use specialist steel that has to be imported because it is not made in this country.
He said they have been paying hundreds of thousands of pounds a month between them in tariffs imposed on those imports, which is unsustainable, and is putting well-paid, highly skilled jobs at risk.
Mr Betts said the issue is that this type of steel is not produced in the UK but is still subject to quota tariffs.
Although the Government have now extended the relevant category 12A quota to help this situation, these firms will still have significant costs because of the tariffs and quotas that have been imposed.Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Secretary of State for International Trade, agreed to meet with the MP, industry organisation the Confederation of British Metalforming and city engineering firms to discuss the issue.
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Mr Betts said: “I support steel tariffs, which are designed to protect the UK steel industry. However, the specialist steel that these engineering firms use cannot be produced in the UK at present and thus has to be imported.
“It does not seem fair that these companies have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds a month in tariffs, when they cannot source the steel in this country. The quotas need to be more flexible.
“The real issue is that if this matter is not resolved, these companies, which are long-term employers in the city, could be forced to cut jobs.
These firms are significant employers in the region and we are talking about highly-skilled jobs as well. I am glad that the Minister has agreed to meet with me, the Confederation of British Metalforming and these local firms, and hope that an arrangement can be reached to protect these jobs.”
The online link to the House of Commons question can be found here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/3e829124-7c59-41a4-ba46-1fb4bc9ed0df?in=13:02:05