WASHINGTON, Jan 20 ― The United States and Britain opened talks yesterday aimed at resolving the dispute over tariffs Washington placed on imported steel and aluminium during former president Donald Trump's administration.

Citing the “serious threat” posed by excess global capacity of the metals, which the countries largely blamed on China, top trade officials from Washington and London said they are “committed to working towards an expeditious outcome,” according to a joint statement.

The tariffs imposed on US allies by the Trump administration caused friction with trading partners including Britain, which retaliated with punitive duties on American goods.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met virtually with Britain's International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and pledged to find “effective solutions.”

The officials “discussed the impact on their industries stemming from global excess capacity driven largely by China. The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to market-oriented steel and aluminium industries in the United States and the United Kingdom, and to the workers in those industries.”

In June 2018, Trump imposed tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium from several economies, saying he was acting on national security grounds, a claim rejected by critics.

Washington reached a quota agreement with the EU to remove the tariffs in October, and in November, opened talks with Japan.

British business association CBI welcomed news of the talks, calling it “vital” to reach a settlement that takes pressure off industries affected by the dispute, especially amid rising inflation in both countries.

“Trade must be used as a tool for growth; there are no winners in a trade war,” the association's International Director Andy Burwell said in a statement. ― AFP