UK-bound steel imports could bounce into EU after Brexit, Eurofer warns, MLex

  • Steel goods bound for a post-Brexit UK could bounce and flood the EU market instead, the European trade body Eurofer has warned in a request to the European Commission to extend safeguard measures. The UK is currently looking into whether to keep the cap-and-tariff steel measures beyond their expiration in July, and it would be “incongruous” if the EU “did not follow suit,” Eurofer said.
  • Eurofer’s request, sent earlier this month, also points to persistently high imports of steel products as a reason to keep the global measures in place (see here).
  • The UK government is reviewing whether it should still apply the steel safeguard at its borders after Jan. 1, when the Brexit-linked transition period ends and Britain will be able to impose its own tariffs. The EU steel safeguard introduced in 2018 sets certain quota limits for duty-free imports of 26 product types, above which a 25 percent duty is imposed.

EU plays down Michel Barnier talks with bloc’s fishing ministers, BBC

  • The EU has played down the importance of a meeting between EU fishing ministers and the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday. It comes amid uncertainty over whether trade talks between the EU and the UK will be held in person this week.
  • Mr Barnier had reportedly been due to come to London to resume face-to-face trade talks on Friday. But, asked if they were expecting him, a Downing Street spokesperson said “that’s a matter for the EU and a decision for them”.
  • Mr Barnier is due to hold a video call with EU fishing ministers on Friday – but EU sources denied a suggestion the meeting was “urgent”. They claimed it was the latest, regular update to ministers from the member states who are responsible for fishing.
  • The negotiations had reportedly been due to resume on Friday but this has not been confirmed by either side. No 10’s spokesperson said: “Negotiations will continue virtually – it’s a matter for them when and if they choose to travel. The PM believes that the UK will thrive with or without a deal with the EU, but it remains our ambition to reach a free trade agreement which is why we continue to negotiate.”

UK says on Brexit trade deal: We can get there but not at any cost, Reuters

  • Britain and the EU can clinch a Brexit trade deal and the shape of one is clear but London will not sign up to an accord at any cost, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s finance minister said on Thursday.
  • With just five weeks left until the United Kingdom exits the EU, both sides are calling on the other to move their positions to clear the way for a trade deal. Officials in Britain and the EU say the talks are still snagged on two main issues, fair competition guarantees and fisheries, but neither, so far, have shown a willingness to shift enough on either to make way for any breakthrough.
  • European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday the EU was ready for the possibility of Britain leaving the bloc without a new trade accord despite “genuine progress” in the tortuous Brexit talks. An official involved in the negotiations said a deal was possible, but not likely before the weekend at the earliest. An EU diplomat said it was more likely to come next week.