Theresa May has broken her silence over the escalating trade war between the US and its allies, saying that the EU and the UK should be “permanently exempted” from tariffs.
The Prime Minister said she was “deeply disappointed” by Washington’s “unjustified” decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico, which prompted swift retaliation against US products including denim, bourbon and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
“Our steel and aluminium industries are hugely important to the UK, but they also contribute to US industry including in defence projects which bolster US national security,” Mrs May said.
“The EU and UK should be permanently exempted from tariffs and we will continue to work together to protect and safeguard our workers and industries.”
The row is set to dominate a G7 Summit in Québec next week, as well as President Trump’s visit to the UK in July.
The 25% tariff on steel will impact half a billion dollars worth of trade between the UK and the US, hitting steelworks such as Dalzell in Scotland. Marion Fellows, the SNP MP for the area, said Mrs May had to “stand up for steel”.
“We need action from the UK Government to show that it cares about this vital industry,” she said.