Import Safeguarding - What does it mean?

30th June 2022

We have the latest information on Safeguard measure that was published on 22nd June which will have an impact on businesses in this region.

Decisions were made by the International Trade Secretary and the continued application of safeguard measures on imports of steel plus tariff rate quotas were reported on. The Department for International Trade (DIT) called in this reconsideration decision from the Trade Remedies Authority in March

The Secretary of State has decided to apply the safeguard measures on the following categories of steel imports until the end of June 2024:

1 – Non-alloy and other alloy hot-rolled sheet and strip

2 – Non-alloy and other alloy cold-rolled sheet

4 – Metallic coated sheet

5 – Organic coated sheet

13 – Rebar

19 – Railway material

20 – Gas pipe

21 – Hollow section

25 – Large welded tube

26 – Other welded tube

The safeguard measures are also being applied to the following categories of steel imports until the end of June 2024:

6– Tin mill products

7 – Non-alloy and other alloy quarto plates

12 – Merchant bars and light sections

16 – Non-alloy and other alloy wire rod

17 – Angles, shapes, and sections of iron or non-alloy steel

For category 12a, the Secretary of State is increasing the tariff rate quota by 126,136 tonnes in order to assist importers and downstream users of steel.

The proposed tariff rate quotas for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 are set out in section D of the policy announcement: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/steel-safeguard-reconsideration-the-secretary-of-states-proposed-approach/proposed-approach-to-steel-safeguard-reconsideration-html-version

What are Safeguarding measures?

When the UK left the EU on 31st December 2021, the end of the transition period, the UK government moved to protect certain sectors of British manufacturing by increasing the number of products imported under quota control. The purpose, to reduce the effect of potentially cheaper imports from overseas.

This means that a quota specified product, based on the product commodity code, will be controlled by the tonnage imported over a specific period. For example: A quota may be applied starting from 1 January 2022 on imported steel bars. The quota period will last until 31st March 2022 with a quota allowance of 2500 tonnes. The import of that product type will be controlled and if the imported tonnage allowance is reached before 31st March, an automatic duty of typically, but not always, 25%, based on the value of an import, will be applied. On 1st April, the quota will reset, the tonnage allowance may differ, as may the quota time or percent of additional duty.

The import quota means physical limitation of the quantities of different products to be imported from foreign countries within a specified time period.

Anti-Dumping Duties are introduced to protect the UK industry from the possible damage caused by the dumping of low-priced goods on the UK market.

Countervailing Duty applies to goods that have benefited from government subsidies in their country of origin.

In the UK, the measures are decided by the Department of International Trade (DIT) with whom the Secretary of State for International Trade has the ultimate responsibility.

The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for International Trade. Their role is to investigate whether new trade remedies are needed to prevent injury to UK industries caused by unfair trading practices and unforeseen surges in imports.

The Sheffield International Trade Centre (SITC) has been deeply involved with these issues throughout 2021, to date. Being a steel and metal bashing region, South Yorkshire businesses have been seriously affected by these measures and, due to the nature of what we do, we rarely hear of the positive effects of such measures, only the negative effects.

What is the Sheffield international Trade Centre doing to help business?

In 2021 we set up a lobby group with the British Chamber of Commerce to address the issues immediately facing Industry. 

  • We have kept the South Yorkshire stakeholder companies informed of news, or changes to the quota and antidumping rulings.
  • Our Customs Broker services double check all importing and exporting product commodity codes as a matter of course to ensure no special controls are under those products, informing companies immediately if there are measures.
  • In June 2022, I have had meetings with the CEO of the Trade Remedies Authority, the Head of Investigations, and the Negotiator for Steel Safeguards. Today (Thursday 30th June) I am at a conference in London and will question the Secretary of State for Trade.
  • We are in the process of arranging a visit to Sheffield by the TRA and or DIT later this year to host a round table meeting with companies to discuss and understand the positioning of the government.
  • By keeping in constant communication with the Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, and the MD of ChamberCustoms, the SITC is putting the concerns of South Yorkshire businesses directly to the TRA, DIT and government.

We are getting results!

As the lead negotiator for the TRA told me the decisions they make on whether to impose import controls always must be balanced because they are fully aware any decision will benefit some companies and hurt others. It boils down to redistributing pain!

If your business has been affected by Safeguarding measures please contact Nick Patrick at the Sheffield International Trade Centre.

Nick.patrick@scci.org.uk  0114 213 2990

To keep up to speed with the latest news on safeguarding please follow the Sheffield International Trade Centre – SITC on Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sheffield-intrnational-trade-centre/

www.scci.org.uk/international

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