The two nations reached an agreement on Tuesday after a meeting between Gina Raimondo, US commerce secretary and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK’s international trade minister in Washington DC. The US agreed to ease huge tariffs on UK steel and aluminum products as one of the attempts to abolish Trump-era trade disputes.

British steel and aluminum exports to the US were facing tariffs of 25% and 10% respectively as imposed by the then president, Donald Trump. The UK retaliated by imposing levies on popular American products and services. However, the deal would have the UK strip the retaliatory tariffs on popular goods such as Harley-Davidson bikes, Levi jeans, bourbon whiskey, and cigarettes.

The deal was “good news for our steel and aluminum industries, who have been unfairly hit by these tariffs, and the 80,000 people employed across the sector,” said Trevelyan.

Hopes of striking a post-Brexit free trade agreement, however, were shattered when Katherine Tai—a US trade representative said, “a free trade agreement is a tool. A very 20th Century tool. It has its place in the toolbox,” as reported by the Daily Mail. “I want to ensure the conversations and the approaches that we bring today, especially with the pressures that we’re facing, are maximally responsive so that we don’t spend years and spend a lot of blood, sweat and tears working on something that isn’t going to be relevant to the needs of our people and our economies,” added Tai.

Marjorie Chorlins, senior vice president for European Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who took part in discussions in Baltimore on Monday, said a trade pact is not likely, “at least not anytime soon.” 

According to Reuters, Steelmakers expressed concerns that easing the tariffs for allied countries will allow surges of steel into the United States that could hurt industry profitability. But futures prices for Midwest hot-rolled steel remain elevated at $1,138 per ton, compared to $1,265 a year ago, more than $1,900 last August and $825 when tariffs were first imposed in 2018.