The Government has this month published details of the UK’s temporary tariff regime should the UK leave the EU without a deal later this year.
Introducing the document, the Treasury said the regime is designed to “minimise costs to businesses and consumers” while “protecting vulnerable industries”.
It added that the regime would apply for up to 12 months while a “full consultation and review on a permanent approach to tariffs is undertaken”.
According to the report, some 87 per cent of total imports to the UK by value would be eligible for tariff-free access under the temporary regime. However, tariffs would still apply to around 13 per cent of goods imported to the UK.
These would include a mixture of tariffs and quotas on meat products – including beef, lamb, pork, poultry and some dairy products – to support farmers and producers who have “historically been protected through high EU tariffs”.
Likewise, a number of tariffs will be retained on finished vehicles in order to support the automotive sector “in light of broader challenging market conditions”.
Tariffs will also be placed on, or retained on, products such as ceramics, fertiliser and fuel.
Commenting on the temporary regime, Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery said British businesses would not pay customs duties on the majority of goods imported into the UK.
“Our priority is securing a deal with the European Union as this will avoid disruption to our global trading relationships. However, we must prepare for all eventualities,” he said.
“If we leave without a deal, we will set the majority of our import tariffs to zero, whilst maintaining tariffs for the most sensitive industries.
“This balanced approach will help to support British jobs and avoid potential price increases that would hit the poorest households the hardest.
“It represents a modest liberalisation of tariffs and we will be monitoring the economy closely, as well as consulting with businesses, to decide what our tariffs should be after this transitional period.”
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