Boris Johnson may breach trade rules by slapping tariffs on steel to save jobs

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Ministers also want to extend steel tariffs on countries such as China.

Mr Johnson insisted it was “reasonable” given the soaring energy costs for British manufacturers to have the “same protections” as in Europe even if it breaks World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

There is concern over cheap imports threatening jobs in Tory seats such as Scunthorpe, which has a British Steel plant.

At the G7 summit in Bavaria, Mr Johnson said: “I don’t think that’s the right way forward. I want another solution.” He said it was hard doing it within WTO obligations, adding: “These are tough choices.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy told Sky News he backed free trade and added: “I’d want to get into the detail but my instinct is this can’t be right.”

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