The Government has opened an online public consultation on what tariff strategy will be best for UK businesses and consumers post Brexit.
A ‘UK Global Tariff Policy’ for imports into the UK will take effect after the UK leaves the European Union’s Common External Tariff at the end of the year.
The new tariff policy will form the UK’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) schedule with the WTO, which will enter into force on 1st January 2021.
The schedule will outline what tariffs will apply to imports from any country with which the UK does not have a free trade agreement.
If a trade agreement isn’t reached with the EU, for instance, the new UK MFN tariff schedule will apply for imports from the continent, meaning that EU goods imports would have the same tariffs in place as for Bolivian or Cuban goods.
In line with the Northern Ireland protocol, special arrangements will apply to goods entering Northern Ireland.
Consultation will run till 5th March
The online consultation will be open for four weeks until 5 March. The Government is hoping that the new ‘UK Global Tariff’ will:
“Ensure UK businesses compete on fair terms with the rest of the world whilst benefitting households through greater choice and lower prices. Ultimately, this will also help to make it easier to trade, drive up investment, and deliver more quality jobs across the UK.”
The Government is seeking views on:
- simplifying and tailoring the tariff to suit UK businesses and households, such as removing tariffs of less than 2.5% and rounding tariffs down to the nearest 2.5%, 5% or 10% band;
- removing tariffs on key inputs to production which could reduce costs for UK manufacturers; and
- removing tariffs where the UK has zero or limited domestic production which could help to lower prices for consumers
The consultation opens as the Government begins setting out details of its approach to negotiating new free trade agreements with countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as the European Union.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:
“The UK has left the EU and it is time for us to look forward to our future as an independent, global champion of free trade.
“It is vitally important that we now move away from complex tariff schedule imposed on us by the European Union.
“High tariffs impinge on businesses and raise costs for consumers. This is our opportunity to set our own tariff strategy that is right for UK consumers and businesses across our country.
“I am calling on people, businesses and civil society groups to seize this opportunity to take part in our consultation and tell us what would work best for them.”