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Update From Gafta On UK-specific Tariffs On Imported Goods From 1st January 2021

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Date Published: 17/11/2020

From 1 January 2021, the UK will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods.  This UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff, which applies until 31 December 2020. You can check all the import duties at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-tariffs-from-1-january-2021

We are currently waiting on the government to lay the statutory instrument before Parliament to enact this UKGT.  This legislation gives the govt power to apply duties at the border. It is expected at any time and before the end of the year but bear in mind that Ministers have the power to make changes to tariffs, inconsistencies etc. I am sure that the EU UK negotiations may also have an impact. On exports, the UK has no control. However, Ministers will always have the power to make adjustments to duties as and when needed.  We are expecting some technical fixes but nothing is known yet.

The Cross Border Trade act mentions that the following five tests should be considered in case of fixing tariffs: Interest of consumers, Interest of producers, Desirability to promote external trade, Desirability to promote UK productivity , Extent that goods are competitive. You can see exact wording in the Act.

Gafta is expecting to be involved in discussions on tariffs within the ACAG group and also to have opportunity to feed into the Defra monitoring group which will be advising Ministers on the high level issues going forward but all these aspects need to be closely monitored.  Up to now, Gafta and AIC have made case for several products where there are high or punitive duties which will mean trade will stop if no deal.  However, no one knows if any of these issues will be taken up by Ministers.

Clearly there are still many unknowns and much uncertainty.

June Arnold, Gafta 

17.11.20