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UK steel makers brace for Donald Trump's imports decision as protectionism ramps up

Britain’s steel industry is bracing to discover if it will be blocked from exporting to the US as President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy gains momentum.
The US Department of Commerce on Thursday presented Mr Trump with a report on steel imports after he triggered an investigation into foreign steel’s impact on American industry. The President has 90 days after the submission to decide on any potential action based on the findings of the investigation, the US Government department said. 
The president has pledged to “fight for American workers and American-made steel”, and last year ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to begin a probe into the matter.
UK steel makers brace for Donald Trump's imports decision as protectionism ramps up

Donald Trump has pledged to protect the US steel industry under his 'Make America Great Again' policy 

Credit:
AP
Known as a “Section 232” investigation, the study is a prelude to trade sanctions, such as a block on imports or huge levies. It examines whether imports could be putting US national security at risk because they are driving domestic producers out of business, making the country reliant on foreign suppliers who are often state-subsidised, allow them to “dump” products abroad.
Once the report is issued, the president has 90 days to decide if he agrees with it and then 15 days to act upon its findings, with measures such as trade bans, quotas or tariffs.
China is the main focus of the investigation, with Mr Trump targeting Beijing-backed steel mills which have flooded the US market with cheap products.
However, Britain’s steel makers fear they could be cut out of a crucial export market if the investigation leads to a wide-ranging controls.
UK steel makers brace for Donald Trump's imports decision as protectionism ramps up

Britain's steel industry was driven into a crisis by imports of Chinese steel

Credit:
WPA Pool
America is a crucial market for Britain’s steel industry, with UK companies exporting about 250,000 tonnes there annually - about 7pc of total exports - and worth about ?330m a year.
Gareth Stace, director of  trade body UK Steel, said: “The publication of these recommendations will be a critical event for the UK steel industry. Any that come down strongly on steel products across the board would have a particularly harsh impact.”
He said British steelmakers - who were driven to their knees two years ago by a flood of subsidised steel imports from China - “shared the US government’s concern” about dumping.
Mr Stace said UK steelmakers are “hoping for a balanced and measured response” which only affects subsidised companies.
“Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut is not the answer here,” he added.
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