New UK Global Tariff Published, and more…

May 21, 2020 2:00 pm

With various relaxations to the lockdown being announced recently, there is another sign that life is slowly coming back to normal – Brexit; Departure from the Customs Union is now back in the headlines. We have seen a sudden burst of activity from the government, which shows that there’s been a lot of work done in the background over the past couple of months.

Firstly, on Tuesday the new UK Global Tariff got published. This lists all the duty rates that will be applied on the import of goods into the UK as soon as we are no longer part of the EU single market.

The Trade Deal

Since the trade deal with the EU is still looking quite unlikely, these tariffs may be applied to over 80% of British imports, so it is a big deal.

At a glance, the tariff rates are in some areas lower than our current (EU) tariff, however they are nowhere as low as in the previous “No Deal” tariff published last year.

Only around 18% of the tariff lines will see a significant (over 1%) reduction compared to the EU tariff, with most of these representing raw materials.

The Numbers

The weighted average tariff on goods imported from “Most Favoured Nation” countries has only fallen from 2.1% to 1.5%, so it is nowhere near as ambitious as the “No Deal” tariff has been.

More Work To Do (In Northern Ireland)

This is not yet a detailed guide on how things will work between GB, NI and EU after the end of the transitional period. This guide delivers an important message that the UK is committed to “respect and abide by the legal obligations” of the Protocol. It also assures that the implementation of the Protocol is in the hands of the UK authorities and that there is no “international border” between GB and NI.

Just a day later the government has published a command paper titled “The UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol”.

Whilst a welcome update of the critical topic, the command paper has already received some criticism over the lack of clarity and specifics, which are hopefully about to follow soon.

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