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  • BBC

Steel import tariffs extended for two years

Tariffs on steel imports that were due to expire will be retained for a further two years, the government said.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the plans departed from the UK's "international legal obligations" but was in the "national interest" to protect steel makers.

She added the decision was made due to "global disruptions" to energy markets and supply chains.

British steel producers are under pressure from soaring energy prices.

Steelmaking is a key industry for some parts of the UK, where it employs 34,000 people and turns over £2bn annually.

Without controls the government has warned the supply of steel into the UK could rise substantially, harming local manufacturers.

UK Steel previously said ending the import controls could cause as much as £150m a year in damage.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Germany at the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said keeping the import controls on foreign steel would protect metal manufacturers.

But there were concerns such a decision could breach international law as the question of extending tariffs on steel imports is seen as potentially breaking World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.

Ms Trevelyan said the decision "departs from our international legal obligations" of a WTO agreement.

"However, from time to time, issues may arise where the national interest requires action to be taken," she added.

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