This week, the government announced a two-year extension of tariffs on steel imports, despite the move being a “departure from our international legal obligations” under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Mr Fox believes the introduction of “protectionist” tariffs on steel imports will put Britain at odds with allies and damage the country’s international reputation.
The ex-minister said it was time for Mr Johnson’s government to “show leadership on free trade” rather than “damaging our global reputation and putting other sections of our economy at risk”.
The Prime Minister should ditch the tariffs “unless this is a Conservative government in name only”, the former trade secretary wrote in an op-ed for Sunday Telegraph.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told the Commons earlier this week that the UK would extend protection to five types of steel products.
After BrexitThe UK has scrapped EU quotas and tariffs on 10 steel categories by mid-2024. The government has now decided to extend the temporary guarantees for five other categories until the same date.
Ms Trevelyan said the national interest “requires the adoption of measures which may conflict with normal rules and procedures”.
Labor has backed “extended safeguards”, saying it would provide welcome relief to Britain’s steel sector.
But several leading Tory MPs have raised concerns about protectionism and reciprocal tariffs being imposed on Britain by countries that stand to lose.
“Retaliatory measures by countries whose exports are affected could affect other areas of the UK economy,” Mr Fox warned.
He added: “The choice of protectionism is one of the worst decisions this government has made … We need to find another answer to the problem if it is not a Conservative government in name only.”
Mr Johnson last year backed Dr Fox as a candidate for WTO director-general, but the Brexiteer’s bid to lead the international trade body was unsuccessful.
Liam Fox says steel tariffs are one of Boris Johnson’s “worst decisions”.
Source link Liam Fox says steel tariffs are one of Boris Johnson’s “worst decisions”.