UK mulls over steel industry, despite WTO concerns

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Britain is considering measures to protect its ailing steel industry, which could put it on a collision course with the World Trade Organization (WTO), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

Britain’s steel industry is struggling to survive after shrinking in recent decades and is now bearing the brunt of soaring energy prices.

The government has provided some financial support for energy-intensive businesses, including steel, but Johnson has indicated it will take other actions that could violate its WTO obligations.

Asked about reports he was prepared to break WTO rules by imposing new tariffs, Johnson told British reporters at the G7 summit in Germany that “we have a system in the UK where we don’t do not favor our industry like some other countries”. do.

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“We need British Steel to get much cheaper energy and cheap electricity for its blast furnaces.

“But until we can fix this, I think it’s reasonable that UK steel should have the same protections as…absolutely every other European steel economy,” he added.

“The difficulty is, is it possible to do this while remaining within our WTO? But these are tough choices you have to make.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Johnson plans to impose import limits on steel from several developing countries and extend tariffs already imposed on developed countries and China.

Johnson’s political standing is in jeopardy after two landslide by-election defeats this week. One was in the former industrial town of Wakefield, a so-called Red Wall headquarters that swung to the Conservatives in the last election.

The government hopes the action on steel will build support in these areas, observers say.

AFP

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