Britain says European Union is offering 'relatively low quality' trade agreement

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020

The government has published the UK's new tariff regime, to replace the EU Common External Tariff from 1 January 2021, revealing that calls by the trade to reduce or drop tariffs on imported wines have gone unheaded.

The Government's new tariff schedule is meant to make it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas.

But it will mean that if Britain and the European Union fail to reach a free trade deal by the end of the year, the price of some food, cars and some chemical inputs imported from the bloc would rise sharply.

ICOS EU affairs executive, Alison Graham, said: "The Irish dairy sector has taken hit after hit this year, with Covid-19 creating additional new barriers to global trade and imposing significantly higher costs on exporters, with the implications to be felt for months, if not years to come".

The third round of talks between Britain and European Union negotiators again ended in stalemate last week due to disagreements over access to fishing waters after the transition period ends in December, and the EU's call for Britain to continue following level-playing field arrangements.

Although European cars are looking likely to become more expensive, the Government is removing tariffs on £30 billion worth of other imported products.

Under the new regime, the government will streamline or simplify tariffs on more than 6,000 products, including getting rid of all "nuisance tariffs" (those below 2 percent), to lower costs for businesses and increase choice for consumers, it said. It will apply to countries with which it has no agreement and will remove all tariffs below 2%.

"With this straightforward approach, we are backing United Kingdom industry and helping businesses overcome the unprecedented economic challenges posed by Coronavirus".

The UK will maintain tariffs on a number of products backing UK industries such as agriculture, automotive and fishing.

Nearly all pharmaceuticals and most medical devices (including ventilators) are tariff free in the UKGT.

It is therefore introducing a temporary zero tariff rate on these products, waiving the tariff and Value Added Tax for personal protective equipment, medical devices, disinfectant and medical supplies from non-EU countries.

This relief waives the tariff and Value-Added Tax for personal protective equipment, medical devices, disinfectant and medical supplies from non-EU countries.