Consultation - Have your say on the UK's new Independent Tariff Policy

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, bringing us to the final stages of Brexit – a process that officially began almost three years ago.

The Department for International Trade has begun preparations for the UK’s first independent tariff policy in almost fifty years. This means that the UK will be free to set its tariff rates on all imported goods. To inform the development of the UK Global Tariff, the Government has launched a four-week public consultation on the UK Global Tariff policy, beginning on 6 February 2020 and closing on 5 March 2020.

Julie Austin, International Trade Manager at Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, encourages everyone with an interest to take part and provide their views. So, take part today, and be part of the voice that shapes what happens from the 1 January 2021.

This new policy, the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff, will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

The tariffs will apply to all imported goods into the UK, unless in exceptional circumstances such as a preferential agreement or if tariff suspensions apply. As such, this tariff will not apply to goods incoming from developing countries that benefit under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, or to goods originating from countries that the UK has negotiated a free trade agreement (FTA).

Regarding Northern Ireland, specific arrangements that are in place are provided by the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol within the Withdrawal Agreement.

In setting the tariff rates, the government will have regard to the principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, namely:

  • The interests of consumers in the United Kingdom
  • The interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned
  • The desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom
  • The desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom
  • The extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition
  • The government will also seek to balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK’s trade ambitions and FTA trade agenda, with maintaining the government’s commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade.

The consultation offers you the opportunity to provide:

  • Views on a potential series of amendments to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff- specifically: simplifying and tailoring the UK Global Tariff policy, removing tariffs on goods imported by UK businesses to manufacture other goods, and where the UK has zero or limited domestic production
  • Specific feedback on specific products or commodity codes of importance to you, including on the corresponding tariff rate
  • Information on your interactions with MFN tariffs and the importance of tariffs to your sectors

Throughout the consultation respondents are encouraged to provide evidence to support their view, including the possible impact (costs and benefits) of amending or not amending the tariff on businesses, consumers and the economy.

This consultation represents a unique and historic opportunity for every business, every person and every civil society group, in every part of the UK, to have their say.

So be sure to share your views and contribute to the preparation of the MFN tariff policy that comes into force from the 1 January 2021.

It is recommended that you use a desktop or laptop computer to complete your response to this consultation.

For any further queries on guidance or accessibility you can email tariffconsultation@trade.gov.uk. This email address will no longer be monitored once the consultation closes on 5 March 2020.

If you have any further queries regarding International Trade please do not hesitate to contact the International Trade Department at Norfolk Chambers of Commerce on 01603 729706 or email export@norfolkchambers.co.uk

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