LONDON (Reuters) - The United Kingdom announced a new post-Brexit tariff regime on Tuesday to replace the European Union’s external tariff, maintaining a 10% tariff on cars and levies on agricultural products such as lamb, beef, and poultry.
The British government said the new regime, known as the UK Global Tariff (UKGT), would be simpler and cheaper than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU CET).
Britain left the EU at the end of January, but will follow the EU’s tariff programme this year during a transition due to end on Dec. 31, 2020.
The new tariff regime will be in pounds sterling and will apply from Jan. 1, 2021. It will provide a baseline for negotiations for free trade agreements with the EU, the United States and other countries.
Following are the main changes:
- The new regime rounds tariffs down to standardised percentages, and gets rid of all tariffs below 2%.
- The UK will also get rid of the EU’s complex Meursing table for agricultural goods, so it can scrap thousands of what it described as “unnecessary tariff variations on products”.
- The new tariff will ensure that 60% of trade will come into the UK tariff free on WTO terms or through existing preferential access.
The government says it will keep:
— Tariffs on agricultural products such as lamb, beef, and poultry— A 10% tariff on cars
— Tariffs for the vast majority of ceramic products
— Some tariffs which support imports from the world’s poorest countries who have preferential access to the UK market
— The new regime removes tariffs on 30 billion pounds-worth of imports entering UK supply chains. There will be 0% tariffs on products used in UK production, including copper alloy tubes (down from 5.2%) and screws and bolts (down from 3.7%).
— The government said UK consumers would also benefit from more choice and lower costs due to zero tariffs on goods including dishwashers, freezers, sanitary products and tampons, paints, screwdrivers and Christmas trees.
The government said it would promote a sustainable economy by cutting tariffs on more than 100 products to back renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and the circular economy. These include zero tariffs on:
- Thermostats (down from 2.1%)
- Vacuum flasks (down from 6.7%)
- LED lamps (down from 3.7%)
- Bicycle inner tubes (down from 4%)
The government said that while almost all pharmaceuticals and most medical devices (including ventilators) are tariff-free in the UKGT, some products used to fight COVID-19 maintain a tariff.
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.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Andrew Heavens