UK would eliminate majority of tariffs after a no-deal Brexit

  • img Alejandro Ortega
  • POSTED ON 13 Mar 2019
  • Maybe Ok

Claims

The UK government has revealed its plans to temporarily cut tariffs for up to 12 months if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

Currently all goods that are imported from the EU are tariff-free, but if Britain were to leave without a deal, WTO tariffs would have automatically applied.

Tariffs will be eliminated completely on 87% of imports to the UK and will apply to goods from every country.

But the prices of beef, cheddar and finished cars will increase if these are imported from the EU.

The prices of tinned tuna, men's wool jackets and underpants made of synthetic fibre could go up by 24%, 12% and 12% respectively.

As a percentage of the existing EU tariff on products, the government will cut those on beef to 53%, poultry to 60%, butter to 32%, cheddar cheese to 13%, fish/seafood to 11.9%, milled and semi-milled grain to 83%, finished cars and trucks to 11.3% and footwear to 8.2%.

The release of these plans comes as MPs will vote on the 13th whether to allow a no-deal Brexit.

The government has set the tariffs in order to avoid disruption to businesses and limit price increases for consumers.

No tariffs or checks will be applied to any goods going from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland. There is the potentual for this to be exploited by smugglers and fund criminal activity, but there is no incentive for legitimate exporters to ship their products from Northern Ireland.

The governments intention is to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the North of Ireland. If the UK left without a deal, the government would immediately “enter discussions with the EU and Ireland” on a longer term solution to the border.

A “small number” of checks would be made on goods going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. All food products from non-EU countries would have to “enter Northern Ireland through a designated entry point”.

Documents would be needed for hazardous chemicals or endangered species, but there would still not be any checks on these products at the border.

Endangered species must go through Belfast international airport, electronic notification for dangerous chemicals.

Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers Union said it was “relieved” by the protection for UK farmers offered by the increased tariffs on imported food, but expressed concern that the plan had only been released so soon before the potential exit on the 29th March.

The Director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairburn, expressed concern that plans for such a large change in “terms on trade” had been drawn up without consulting businesses, with so little time to prepare for the impact, whilst losing tariff free access to the EU.