Brexit confounding challenges for British steel industry

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UK steel exports into the EU have dropped significantly since Brexit, with volume in Q1 2021 down a third on previous years. 

Trade body UK Steel shared the figures with the Mirror, showing how shipments from the UK into the EU fell from an average of 630,000 tonnes to just 420,000 tonnes in the first three months of the year. 

The data suggests a Brexit-related slump in demand with British steel exporters using less than 60% of their quotas in the first quarter.

Director-general of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, said that: “This is a challenging time for the UK steel sector as it does its utmost to adapt to challenging new trading conditions and recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

“This first quarter of export data demonstrates quite how challenging market conditions are for the sector at this time and the new barriers now in place between us and our largest export market.

“We are confident that some of these export difficulties will lessen as time goes on, but unfortunately many will be a permanent feature of our new trading relationship with the EU.”

Read more: How to export post-Brexit (webinar)

The British steel industry has been fighting for survival for years, but a changed relationship with the EU and the pandemic is likely making the situation more challenging. Liberty Steel is the latest to face challenges, with 3,000 jobs and 11 UK plants at risk following the well-publicised collapse of Greensill Capital. 

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