Government updates temporary tariff regime

8 October 2019

The Treasury and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have published an updated version of the UK’s temporary tariff regime in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Following discussions with industry and consumer groups, three specific amendments have been made to the list of temporary non-preferential tariff rates and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on imports which was made available in March 2019.

The three changes involve:

  • lower tariffs on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) entering the UK market;

  • adjusting tariffs on bioethanol to retain support for UK producers, as the supply of this fuel is seen as important to critical national infrastructure; and

  • the application of tariffs to additional clothing products to ensure the preferential access to the UK market currently available to developing countries (compared to other countries) is maintained.

With regard to the first of these amendments, the Government said that the aim was to strike a better balance between the needs of British producers and the small and medium-sized businesses that make up the UK haulage industry.

It also wants to ensure that crucial fleet replacement programmes helping to lower carbon emissions can continue.

The Government has again stressed that, under the temporary tariff regime, 88% of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff-free access. It has also announced an “exceptional review process”, which will come into force on the day the UK leaves the EU, to make changes to the temporary tariff regime if necessary.

An online feedback form will enable businesses and consumers to provide feedback that the Government can take into account before deciding if any changes need to be made.

Trade Policy Minister Conor Burns explained that the regime would apply for up to 12 months while a full consultation on a permanent approach to tariffs is undertaken (from January 2020), as part of work to develop the UK’s independent trade policy.

See GOV.UK for more details of the temporary tariff regime.