Quota Safeguarding and Antidumping

20th October 2022

A visit to Sheffield by the Trade Remedies Authority and the Department for International Trade.

On Tuesday 18th October, I invited directors and officers of the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), the Department of International Trade (DIT), the president and CEO of the Confederation of  British Metalforming (CBM) and the Managing Director of the British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA) to Sheffield. We met in a round table discussion format, with directors of manufacturing companies to address issues relating to Antidumping and quota safeguarding measures applied on certain product imports.

Antidumping and quota safeguarding measures are put in place for a noble reason – to protect British manufacturers from unfair trading. There are 3 measures that can be applied:

·      Antidumping.

·      Anti-subsidy.

·      Safeguarding Quotas.

All of the companies involved in the roundtable discussions were SMEs in Sheffield and the South Yorkshire region. The issues of the companies present, and some of those represented by the trade associations in other parts of the country, are the significant disruption they have experienced, hindering their ability to import crucial raw material of a certain grade or standard, much of which is not manufactured in the UK; therefore, the only option is to import. 

In most safeguards' cases, import tariffs of 25% is added on the value of the import above a certain level. One company affected by Antidumping rules faced a 128.7% provisional duty applied to products they had purchased, paid for, and shipped before notification of the ruling was published. They could not cancel the order! 

It is unfortunate that only companies negatively affected by such measures were in the room, we had no representation from companies benefiting from these measures. There are none that I am aware of in South Yorkshire!

The issues were exacerbated in January 2021 following the end of the transition period and the departure of the UK from the EU customs union. Before the end of Brexit transition, the UK was part of the EU safeguard and Antidumping regime, meaning UK companies could import products from the EU of any grade, volume, or value, unhindered. Following our departure on 1/1/21, the UK set up its own industry protection regime and subsequently steel imports from the EU, under the safeguard, became controlled, thus putting British manufacturers in an uncompetitive position with their EU counterparts.

It is worth noting there are 1000’s of SMEs who import specific raw materials, not always available in the UK, to manufacture added value products for export thus creating wealth and employment in every town, city, and region of the UK. It is not unfair to comment that since 1/1/21, many have been put at a level of disadvantage, sufficient to losing orders, in some cases, otherwise financially secure companies manufacturing sought after products have had to shut down.

This whole topic is complicated, but both the TRA and DIT were extremely helpful, explaining why and how decisions are reached. They explained that as a newly formed department, they need to spend more time talking to SMEs and develop a better understanding leading to improved notification and a tariff rate quota (TRQ) system to address specific issues with SMEs.

This was an invite only event, with the permission of those attending, I explained that a report would be posted on social media but that would not include photographs, company, or individual names.

On behalf of the SME manufacturers present, I would like to thank the TRA and DIT for coming up to Sheffield. It was a very helpful and informative meeting.

If any company is experiencing quota and antidumping issues please get in touch with me, nick.patrick@scci.org.uk or directly with the TRA: contact@traderemedies.gov.uk , traderemedies@trade.gov.uk, they will be very happy to discuss your situation.

Nick Patrick, Head of Sheffield International Trade Centre.

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