Trans-Atlantic Businesses Issue Joint Call Ahead of Upcoming Trade Discussions For the U.S. and UK to Find Resolution to Section 232 Tariffs

Following the U.S.-EU announcement on October 31 to suspend tariffs in the three-year long steel and aluminum dispute, and ahead of this week’s meeting between UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, U.S. and UK businesses are showing a united front and calling for an immediate resolution to the U.S.-UK “Section 232” dispute and the removal of tariffs and the threat of additional tariffs on new products.

Despite our different sectors, all of our members continue to be hampered by these tariffs. As the end of the year approaches, it is imperative that we resolve this dispute and help our businesses recover as we continue to face additional supply and logistic disruptions. The U.S. and UK share the world’s largest bilateral investment relationship and support nearly 2.7 million jobs in each others’ economies. Tariffs and threats of additional tariffs are acting as major barriers at a time when we should be focusing on recovering from the pandemic, creating jobs, growth and investment in both the UK and the U.S.

Since June 2018, many businesses on both sides of the Atlantic have been crippled by tariffs in this dispute. In addition to the tariffs, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant economic damage. For example, the pandemic saw consumer spending in the hospitality sector fall by more than 70% in the UK, and as a result, many bars, pubs, restaurants, and local specialty liquor shops have had to shut their doors for good. Similarly, the tariffs have seen American Whiskey exports to the UK decline significantly over the last three and a half years – collapsing by 53% between 2018 and 2020. This has negatively impacted jobs across the U.S., from distilleries through the U.S. supply chain, from farmers to glass producers.

We welcome the announcement of an agreement between the U.S. and EU in the “Section 232” dispute, and the signal that a resolution between the U.S. and UK is possible. We urge the U.S. and UK governments to resolve this dispute without further delay. The upcoming meetings between the U.S. and UK offer the ideal opportunity for a resolution to the dispute to be found.

Doing so will allow the U.S. and UK to strengthen the transatlantic trading relationship, which is of key importance to our industries, leaving us the ability to tackle pressing common challenges together, in a spirit of unity.