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9,000 jobs 'could be at risk' in Wales following US steel tariffs

President Donald Trump imposed 25% tax on all steel imports into the United States. Credit: PA

Politicians have warned that nine thousand jobs in the Welsh steel industry could be at risk after the introduction of US tariffs.

President Donald Trump imposed 25% tax on all steel imports into the United States earlier this year.

But the temporary exemption given to steel producers across Europe expired today meaning exporters to the US market will face tariffs of 25%.

It's feared that this could lead the industry here back into crisis.

9,000
steel workers in Wales working for Tata, Liberty and Celsa.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the tariffs are “disappointing and short-sighted” as he meets with with business leaders and diplomats in Washington DC.

He will also hold high level talks with senior representatives of the British Embassy to express his serious concerns about the potential impact US tariffs will have on the Welsh steel industry.

In recent years, American investment in Wales has reached an all-time high and US exports are now worth over £2 billion to the Welsh economy each year. While our two administrations do not agree on everything, we have worked together to the benefit of our countries, our businesses and our people.

Any suggestion of a return to the protectionism of the past misunderstands the challenges faced by Wales and the USA today. I want to see fewer obstacles to trade, more cooperation, more internationalism, to help our economies continue to grow.

It is, therefore, extremely disappointing that the US is pressing ahead with tariffs on EU steel and aluminium imports. This is a short-sighted measure that will have wide ranging implications for business, defence and diplomacy right across the globe. It could also harm the Welsh steel industry, which we have fought so hard to protect. Despite this, we remain committed to promoting international trade, which is vital to ensuring the prosperity of Welsh people and communities.

– Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister

The United States is Wales’ largest inward investor.

The value of Welsh exports to the USA was worth £2.3 billion in 2017, meaning that the USA is Wales’ third largest export destination.

Politicians say 9,000 jobs could be at risk in the Welsh steel industry. Credit: PA

Best for Britain say Trump's steel tariffs will 'wreck' Wales' post-Brexit steel industry and pose an 'existential threat' to the Welsh steel industry

Welsh steel is being assailed from all sides. The Westminster government has failed to match the £60 million grant from the Welsh government and now Trump's tariffs are threatening to lead the steel industry back into crisis.

This is a wake up call and a look into the future we face if Brexit goes ahead. We have a tight relationship with our allies in the EU, yet this government is tearing us away from them just as Trump is making a mockery of our so-called special relationship. That's why I back a people's vote on the terms of Brexit, including an option to remain in the EU.

– Madeleine Moon MP, Best for Britain champion

Read more: Future of Welsh steel industry at risk from US tariffs

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns spoke to the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, about the tariffs, saying the Government was seeking a solution.

The Secretary of State gave assurances that the UK Government is fully committed to reaching a successful resolution.

Both ministers agreed to work together and be a strong voice for Welsh steel as discussions progress.

– Government spokesperson

The EU is set to take action against the US at the World Trade Organisation, while imposing duties on American imports expected to include orange juice, peanut butter and other goods.

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said he would speak to US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross about the situation again on Monday.

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