Last reviewed 13 January 2021

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have published guidance explaining the background, scope and coverage of temporary suspension or reduction of Customs Duty.

Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-trade-tariff-suspensions-from-customs-duty/uk-trade-tariff-suspensions-from-customs-duty, this explains that temporary tariff suspensions are designed to allow UK businesses to remain competitive in the global marketplace. This is achieved by permitting the complete or partial suspension of import duties on certain goods used in domestic production.

The Government decides whether a particular product is to be granted a tariff suspension or whether a suspension measure should continue. When a suspension application is being considered, the UK will take into account a range of criteria applying to each individual request or renewal.

DIT deals with enquiries other than classification issues concerning this regime while queries about goods classification and nomenclature should be put to HMRC.

Importers seeking the introduction of duty suspensions should submit an application for the suspension during one of the application windows that open through the course of the year. The timings of the 2021 application windows will be provided when the revised process is in place.

All suspension requests will be made publicly available to stakeholders for review or objection. Stakeholders will be able to alert DIT to any objections to any of the suspensions applications by completing an objection form.

The first application window for duty rate suspensions under the UK’s independent suspensions regime will open in spring 2021.

All tariff suspensions requests will be assessed by the DIT, and successful applications are planned to come into force in autumn 2021. From 2022 the UK will seek to open two application windows per year to receive tariff suspension requests, with a view to implementing two rounds of suspensions per year.

Businesses should bear in mind that goods to which temporary suspensions apply remain chargeable with other duties (for example, anti-dumping duty) or with UK taxes (such as VAT).