Her Majesty’s Government announces UK Global Tariff

The Government has this morning (19 May) announced the UK’s new tariff regime, the UK Global Tariff, which will set out the duty charged on imports from other countries. This will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Transition Period, by which point we will have reached an agreement on our future relationship with the EU. The UK Global Tariff will only apply to goods from all countries with which we do not have a preferential trading relationship.

It is a simpler, easier to use and lower tariff regime than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU CET) and will be in pounds (£), not euros. It will scrap red tape and other unnecessary barriers to trade, reduce cost pressures and increase choice for consumers and back UK industries to compete on the global stage.

The government is taking a common-sense approach to our new tariff schedule by streamlining and simplifying over 7,000 tariff lines and lowering costs for businesses by reducing administrative burdens.

The UK Global Tariff will provide a baseline from which we will negotiate free trade agreements with partners around the world, giving us the leverage to negotiate the best deal for the UK, and replace the EU tariff that we currently apply.

  • The UK Global Tariff will make it easier for businesses to trade. o Our tariff will be in pounds – not euros. Paid in pounds, calculated in pounds, this is a stable tariff for UK traders.
  • Our tariff cuts administrative costs for businesses. We are getting rid of needless tariffs which create administrative burdens. All tariffs below 2% are gone (e.g. fire extinguishers, school pencils and gardening tools, move from 1.7% to 0%).
  • Our tariff is simpler to use. We will round tariffs down, making them simpler for traders to use (e.g. reading glasses move from 2.9% to 2% and alarm clocks from 4.7% to 4%). We will also scrap the EU’s complex calculation for certain processed goods- which results in over 13,000 tariff variations on products like biscuits, confectionery, and spreads – applied under the EU Tariff.
  • The UK Global Tariff will back UK manufacturing and production. UK manufacturing and production. We are dropping tariffs to zero across a wide range of products used in UK production (e.g. tools for tapping and threading metal move from 2.7% to 0%, and spanners and wrenches from 1.7% to 0%).
  • The UK Global Tariff will reduce cost pressures and increase choice for UK households. Tariffs will be removed on products that we do not produce, or do not produce much of in the UK. Removing these tariffs will lower cost pressures for UK households and businesses (e.g. pistachios move from 1.6% to 0% and cotton yarn from 4% to 0%).
  • The UK Global Tariff will protect developing countries. These countries will maintain tariff free access into the UK on goods such as vanilla (6%), plantains (16%) and bedlinen (12%). Whereas non-developing countries will face the UK tariff on these goods, where a trade agreement is not in place. Therefore, the UKGT maintains the continued preferential access for these countries.
  • The UK Global Tariff will promote a sustainable economy. We are cutting tariffs on over 100 products to back renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon capture, and the circular economy through recycling and reducing single use plastics (e.g. thermostats move from 2.1% to 0%, vacuum flasks from 6.7% to 0% and LED lamps from 3.7% to 0%).

As set out in the Protocol, Northern Ireland is a constituent nation of the UK and part of the UK’s customs territory. Tariffs are not payable on goods moving within the UK. The arrangements the government will introduce will reflect this.

As we recover from the unprecedented economic challenges posed by coronavirus, the UK will champion free trade, fight protectionism and remove trade barriers.

Our new tariff is tailored to the needs of the UK economy. It will support the country, by making it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas from 1 January 2021.

The UK Global Tariff will protect UK sectors, such as agriculture. Tariffs will be retained for products such as lamb, beef and poultry. The Government has removed tariffs on products that cannot be produced in the UK – including approximately 150 agricultural products such as various vegetables, fruits and oils.

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93 Comments

  1. Posted May 19, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Better late than never.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Any cut in taxes and red tape are most welcome. But what really needs cutting is government expensiture and the overall size of government. Start with HS2, all the renewable subsidies, all the soft loans for worthless degrees, all the carbon neutral and expensive energy agenda. Get freedom, choice and fair competition in schools, health, housing, transport, universities ….

    Rishi Sunak keeps saying how “generous” his rescue schemes are. Can you tell him you can only really be “generous” with your own money. Businesses given these loans will have to pay them back with interest and then they will have to pay extra taxes to pay for all the loans that other people fail to pay back and the interest government incurs.

    The only way to do this is a larger private sector, easier hire and fire and a bonfire of the insane red tape. Get the government out of the damn way and release the release the productive sector.

    Clip the wings of the largely parasitic and very damaging litigation industry too.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Some excellent new in that excess deaths in the week to May 8th (figures out today) are now down to a little over 2,000 – from the peak of nearly 12,000 a couple of weeks back.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      It needn t have happened if they were organised.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic – Do you ever pay any attention to the actual topic under discussion?

  4. That's it. Too late!
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Will these measures reduce the 100% increase on food prices as no offers are available and more expensive brands available only, over the last 3 months? If so, by what percentage?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Where are you shopping? I haven’t seen any price increases except for a sharp uptick in the price of Cheddar cheese.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Can you give us some facts regarding the 100% increase in food prices.
      Not seen any rises near me.

    • Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes we will not be levying EU tariffs of 7% on imported food which we can not produce ourself.

  5. Nigl
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Positive move and puts ‘flesh on so many bones’ I particularly like the simplification. Sets a very clear path from over regulated restrictive EU.

    13000 tariff variations. Strewth.

  6. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    All sounds very positive, I await to see more detail when it is announced, but at least it shows we are now seriously trying to move forward.

    I see paperwork showing our position with the EU on negotiations has also been released today.

  7. Hope
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    JR, stop being specious. Tell the truth. Accept the responsibility of the choice and decision made by the left wing Tory govt led by Johnson. Remember in March You wanted more debt! Now you have it in top of the other destructive decision to devastate the economy.

    No, the economic challenge is NOT posed by the Chinese Virus but by your govt exercising a choice to devastate the economy. It was a rationale choice exercised by PM Johnson and chums. Just like Major decided to join ERM, it was not an inanimate ERM that cost thousands of homes to be repossessed, businesses to go bust or millions unemployed, but a choice by Major and chums.

    Sunak today says the UK will have an unprecndented recession- no shit Sherlock- one that was planned, organised and implemented by the Tory govt. Totally unnecessary. Why allow 18 millie n people to travel freely into the country, some from Chinese virus hotspots then place the nation under house arrest! Led by science, no at all science fiction.

    Under 45 s couldmhavemcontinued to work and their children who form most of the infant and junior schools could have carried on as normal unless they had underlying health issues.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Certainly arse about face science to let people in when departure points were higher risk and quarantine them when departure points are lower risk. Not the science I studied.

      • Hope
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        A bit like forcing the most at risk group elderly out of hospital to care homes, surprise they infected th care homes and 20,000 died! Who would ah e thought that! Disgraceful.

        The govt if a business would be investigated for corporate manslaughter.

    • Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Sadly we joined the ERM under Thatcher. Admittedly they had her over a barrel. I agree that Imperial College and Ferguson are finished, and Boris is too ill to continue. We need a strong, unequivocal and long-standing traditional capitalist Tory in Downing Street.

      Unfortunately Boris appointed a weak cabinet. We need to look further afield, to the old guard until we can upgrade MPs on all sides of the House. For the first time in 47 years, they have a country to Govern, by consent.

    • NickC
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Hope, You are quite correct. Locking down the country whilst refusing to lock down our borders was a mind-numbingly silly act. I have always been doubtful of the full lockdown, whilst accepting that some action was necessary. Those most at risk should have been isolated and protected, and, as you say, the under 50s should have continued as near a normal life as possible.

    • Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      What about the rest of the world? The majority of countries have done the same thing – are they also under the control of ‘the left wing Tory govt led by Johnson’?

      • Hope
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        No they did not. 130 countries imposed border checks, testing and quarantine! So you are completely wrong.

        Lord assumption inmthemSpectator completely right about his points to his critics.

  8. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    If we go to WTO which I hope, I trust we will Impose a 25% tariff on EU manufactured cars.

    • Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Too late Ian, there will be no EU manufactured cars – 😂😂

    • bill brown
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      that will then work both ways

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      currently no need – – nobody’s buying any!

  9. Rondo
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    We currently trade tariff free with the EU27, and that is almost half our export trade. Next January we face tariffs on all of that trade. That means our exports will be uncompetitive and our imports far more expensive for British consumers. We are the first country ever willingly deciding to make our trade less free and more expensive. Brexit is the economics of the madhouse.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      As the pound has fallen against the euro, tariffs would only put us back in the same competitive situation as we were at the time of the referendum.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      And our domestically produced goods more competitive here, in an economy where we currently import more than we export.

    • Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      The great thing is that they sell £90 billion more to us than we sell to them. So taking a flat WTO rate, they will have to pay us £13 billion a year for access to our market. With that profit, the Government should refund any tariff that our exporter have to pay to export into the EU.
      So we get tariffs free trade into their market paid for by them.
      Perfect!

    • Richard1
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      No because we will have the freedom to remove tariffs with other countries with which the EU won’t sign trade deals, such as the US. Also of course the EU may have the sense to sign an FTA with the U.K., in which case there won’t be tariffs on EU goods either.

    • beresford
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      The pressure is on the producer to absorb tariffs so that his goods are competitive. Since the EU has a substantial trade surplus with us they will lose more than we do.

      • Rondo
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Just so Beresford. You are correct, Brexit is lose lose for everyone. Economic neanderthals are driving Brexit

    • BJC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      What’s free about paying an EU membership fee based on our overall income, including our worldwide trade? As our trade with the EU has diminished, they’ve trousered ever-increasing amounts as a form of punishment for our success in the wider world. If we’d been paying tariffs on our actual trade with the EU, they would have been paying us the billions. It’s clearly in the interests of the EU to wake from its slumber to support its negotiator in securing a FTA, or they’ll have a true nightmare to deal with.

  10. Andy
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    The UK’s tariff announcement shows the extent of muddled thinking in this Brexit government.

    Let’s take an example. Liz Truss tells me dishwashers will be cheaper because the EU’s 2.7% external tariff is being scrapped.

    But the EU’s external tariff is only charged on products from outside the EU. So dishwashers by manufacturers like LG May attract a small saving. If the dishwasher cost £500 – that would save me about £12. But many dishwashers are manufactured inside the EU by companies like Bosch, Siemens, AEG, Miele and Neff. These are currently tariff free anyway. Now the UK says it won’t charge a tariff in future but it is putting in place extra bureaucracy to import from Europe meaning these brands will all cost more. How much more we don’t know because the UK government has not detailed its plans.

    Moreover, a dishwasher is something I may well only buy every half a dozen years or so. Perhaps less frequently. But things I buy very frequently – like tomatoes, fresh fruit and veg – will all costs me more because of the extra Brexit bureaucracy we face importing from the EU. Will the additional costs on these offset the possible small saving on dishwashers? Yes, almost certainly. Which is why Brexit will make you poorer.

    At the moment almost half our goods are tariff free. It’s estimated this plan might increase that to about 60% or so. But we require so much extra bureaucracy to trade with our biggest trading partners that any minor gain will be offset by the additional cost.

    • Dishwasher
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      I can’t afford a dishwasher

    • Edward2
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Andy needs a dishwasher.
      Hilarious

      • bill brown
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Edward 2

        thank you Constable

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Sad to see you still trolling bill.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      You will find that when Denmark charged higher tariffs on car imports, Danish car prices net of tax were cheaper than elsewhere. Your cunning logic isn’t borne out in practice; we are customers of the world,not just of France Germany and Italy.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      It is odd how the zealots of continuity remain think it’s a disaster not to have free trade with the EU, and we should achieve that at any cost, but either pointless or even damaging to have free trade with the rest of the world (unless under the auspices of the EU in which case it’s fine).

      You are forgetting 1) the potential for new FTAs to take away tariffs in both directions where they are now imposed 2) the cost savings and advantages of freedom from EU regulation and 3) the possibility that the EU will have the sense to agree an FTA without the U.K. having to become an economic colony of the EU. 3) is looking unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Andy, the people who say “brexit is not about money or the economy” are exactly the same ones who demand that the lockdown be lifted, whatever the cost in lives, in order to benefit…the economy.

      So since money clearly matters more than life to them, and leaving the European Union on the most distant and hostile terms possible matters even more than money, then that must mean vastly more than life to them.

      What words would you use to describe such people?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Realists?

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Martin, The lockdown costs lives too. You won’t face that fact.

    • NickC
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Andy, When will you get it into your …..head that trade with the EU is not bureaucracy free? And our main trading partner – by far – is ourselves, not the EU. Why should we pay for EU red tape to trade inside the UK?

    • Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      If you don’t like democracy then leave.

    • W.C. Frazer
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I would move abroad if I were you. Things are looking grim.Leave England while the goings good. Dooooooommmm awaits. We’re doomed.Doomed. We’re doomed and entombed.

  11. formula57
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Get Brexit done!

  12. NickC
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    JR, We’ve got to to do better than this. It looks like an idle civil servant has copy and pasted the EU tariff schedule in her coffee break. Simplified from the fortress EU customs regime it may be, but many of the tariffs are unsuitable for the UK.

    Take long grain rice (10063048) – why is that at £121 per tonne? We don’t grow it here; and we don’t need to protect Italy’s rice growers as the EU chose to do. Conversely buckwheat (10081000), which can be grown in the UK, and can be used in place of rice, is at only £30/tonne. Seriously, the civil service needs to get a grip – 3/10 could do (much) better.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      That does sound dodgy. These people should be answerable to UK suppliers, unlike the case with the EU, which would have told you to stuff it.

    • anon
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      I would imagine FTA’s will be signed with rice growing countries quicker than with the EU.

  13. glen cullen
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    excellent stuff

  14. Mark B
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    This is the kind of news we wanted to see soon after the referendum result. It would have sent a powerful message of intent by the then UK Government.

    As they say. Better late than never.

    🙂

  15. ukretired123
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear the UK is laying down the gauntlet for a welcome change after being at the EUs beck and call. Thank you SJR!

  16. Steven
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Why wait until January? The government seem to have no difficulty destroying the economy in a matter of weeks but when it comes to do something productive paralysis sets in. Tell the EU to get lost, shut our waters to foreign fishing vessels, institute these tarrifs and we can move on dealing with the disaster the lockdown has caused.

  17. Newmania
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    So this is the amount by which imports from the EU will increase in cost in addition to the non tariff costs and the amount by which imports from countries with EU trade deals will also increase ..
    It seems quite astonishing that we are jeopardising so many jobs losing growth and increasing our shopping bills at this time. We can cheaper pistachios , ….Just about everything in Aldi swill be more expensive .( unless you can live on Pistachios and oranges)
    So we sacrificed our central place in the European market for some nuts … so true so true

    Nuts nuts nuts

    • graham1946
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Sour grapes.

    • NickC
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, Your Aldi shop? – such a selfish attitude! It is good that there is a 10% duty on EU cars. That will push the manufacturers to assemble in the UK, leading to extra jobs. What’s not to like? We are actually “jeopardising so many jobs” by importing too much. The very inverse of what you’re claiming. Indeed the EU knows this – and you say you admire the EU – that is why the EU puts these tariffs on imports into the EU in the first place.

    • Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      If you don’t like democracy – leave.

  18. glen cullen
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I believed the FTA as part of the article 50 withdrawal approach to be flawed

    We needed, as a national, a period of time of reflection, a time to settle into our new circumstances before we entered into new arrangements with the EU

    The WTO path should have been taken

  19. Edward2
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent news.
    Good article on Sky’s website about this too yet another Remainer Project Fear claim being demolished.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Since you apparently couldn’t care less about 50,000 needlessly dead British, no, there’s not much that bothers you is there?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Read the articles Martin
        Stop being so dramatic

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Martin, You did not criticise Andy in this way when he was gloating about 100,000s of dead Brexit voters. Your sob-story is odiously hypocritical. Moreover you fail to acknowledge the premature deaths and ruined lives caused by the lockdown which you extol.

    • bill brown
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Edward 2

      Let us have some facts of all the money we will save by leaving on time and then look at the calculation on what we will loos according to OECD, World Bank IMF and the Treasury and then let us have a factual conversation about the Eu and leaving

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Give us these facts and figures bill
        Then I might take you seriously.

        • bill brown
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          Edwaard 2

          I am still waiting for your figures, thank you

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Bill B, What about you doing some research yourself, and presenting some verifiable figures, with references? If you can.

  20. Posted May 19, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Extremely good! We cannot surrender these desperately needed advantages for a cobbled together EU ‘deal’. Let them go!

  21. acorn
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    On 24 July 2018 the United Kingdom submitted to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) a draft new national “schedule of tariffs” and equivalent charges on UK imports of goods, to come into effect when the UK leaves the European Union.

    Does this new “UK Global Tariff” replace the original post Brexit submission to the WTO; or, is it just more “350 million for the NHS” on a big red bus piece of BS? If it is new, it will be subject to WTO member scrutiny and appeal. Assuming that is, Trump hasn’t castrated the WTO by next January.

    I think we should be told.

    • Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Oh hey – the NHS got more than £350,000,000 – it’s up to £170,000,000,000 pa now! Worth every penny don’t you think?

    • NickC
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Acorn, You have been told, but you won’t listen. The £350m/wk on the side of the bus was a slogan which simply pointed out that we could spend the £350m elsewhere. It was not a promise of a specific amount to be spent on a specific outcome. Personally I think we should spend it on a space program, but I lost out on that one.

      You may not understand this either – an independent country like the UK can specify what tariffs it likes, especially since the new global tariff schedule comes in under the tariff schedule we’re leaving. I don’t think other countries have any say in the matter. Perhaps what you’re referring to were the appeals about quotas, a quite different issue.

    • Otto
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      You’ve been told many times that the £350m on the side of the bus was never promised, guaranteed, pledged to the NHS. You know that but you keep repeating it.

  22. Adam
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    The refreshing clarity creates a fine basis for a clean start. Having a Govt that operates in the interests of its own people enables us to specify and obtain what we value, without the EU’s complex distortions hampering our performance. If the EU wants our business it shall have to compete for it on our terms, or lose it. If we want theirs, we’ll pay what it’s worth, or buy better elsewhere.

  23. Iain Moore
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    “(e.g. tools for tapping and threading metal move from 2.7% to 0%, and spanners and wrenches from 1.7% to 0%).”

    If we do this whilst dumping Greta’s high priced green energy costs on our manufacturing sector you might was wave goodbye to it. The Government could have at least tried to balance out the costs they impose on our industries by placing tariffs on incoming goods that don’t have to suffer this idiocy.

    • NickC
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Iain Moore, I think those tariffs should have increased to protect the native tool manufacturing sector in the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      Exactly but what is needed is cheap reliable on demand energy and scrapping the renewable subsidies and net zero carbon lunacy – not higher import tariffs.

    • DavidJ
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Time to stop respecting the mantra of a deluded, indoctrinated teenager and base policy on hard facts.

  24. Biggles
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    4 July 1954
    Fourteen years of food rationing in Britain ended at midnight on 4 July 1954,
    Started again when Boris got in.2020.
    8th January 1940
    Rationing began on 8th January 1940 when bacon, butter and sugar were rationed
    Eggs , not rationed until 1942. Boris rationed them in 2020 one month into the war against Hitler and the Nazis. The RAF have done a great job. Not heard one bomb but all chickens did, it stopped them laying.
    Boris is irresponsible. He has gone too far. Lack of balance.What would he have done if it was not a phony war but a real one, locked us all en masse into an air raid shelter?

  25. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    This looks like a good package. But the ’rounding down’ justification is weak. Any businessman who can’t master the use of a decimal point should find another job.
    I wonder what the overall effect on the public purse is of all this. Has anyone calculated it?

  26. Alan Knell
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I hope African goods will be zero rated whenever possible. That is the best way to support development to increase prosperity, and so foster stability on that continent.
    In particular, coffee products processed in Africa should be zero rated, and South African wines.
    EU tariffs export poverty to Africa. The iniquity must end whereby African production profits Europeans more than Africans.

  27. Butties
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant, did they publish the spreadsheet showing how this impacts on their revenue streams. If so publish the links please.

  28. Giles B
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Good start, if very late.

    Tariffs should not be set in stone: they should have a sunset clause so that over a five year cycle they are all reviewed in depth and revised as necessary given changes in demographics, technology, safety standards and experience of changes in import and export volumes.

    Perhaps a good role for a revitalised and appropriately resourced Board of Trade, with cross-party parliamentary representatives

  29. forthurst
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    What products are associated with ‘carbon capture’?

  30. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    This is good but does it replace the new WTO rules tariffs announced by Liam Fox before he left the Trade Ministry? If so, presumably in a more liberal direction.

    WTO rules are a potential difficulty. We cannot reduce tariffs for everyone except the EU so if the EU is bloody minded and retains high tariffs on our exports it is difficult to retaliate. We could raise our ‘standard’ tariffs under WTO rules and have a trade treaty with each other nation lowering them, but that would take time.

  31. glen cullen
    Posted May 19, 2020 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    BBC website main news story is reporting that during lockdown co2 car emissions have declined by 17% but after lockdown the co2 figures could return

    Now that sort of high-level journalism is well worth the licence fee

    Trade deals not even on BBC main news website front page

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      glen …..it takes years of media study and on-the-spot investigative journalism to tell us:-
      ‘that during lockdown co2 car emissions have declined by 17% but after lockdown the co2 figures could return’.

  32. Javelin
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    This will be spun to sound like the Government are rewarding China for destroying our economy by reducing tariffs. This policy will lose a lot more votes than it gains. Just like the pointless lockdown Ideology takes precedence over pragmatism.

  33. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    In the immediate sense, the new massive debt, these proposals will have an affect. But, they do not solve any of the UK’s structural woes.

    Zero rate on ‘nuts & bolts’ just highlight the problem. Industry will die without them – yet we have no indigenous production! This type of thing has been highlighted by the situation with PPE, if we cant get it from China we die.

    That might not sound much, but never lose sight these foreign companies are for the most part using their own taxpayer subsidies, to remove wealth from the UK without contributing to it. That intern leave the UK exposed to blackmail as be design we have been made reliant on others.

    The main reason for the UK’s exposure is that successive government have heaped regulation and rules on top of regulation and rules. Then to add insult to injury the have heaped bizarre taxes on to top of extreme taxes. Leaving UK enterprise exposed unless they leave the UK.

    This is not Government keeping the people of the UK safe and secure. Its not Government ensuring the wealth, health and infrastructure of the people. It id Government fighting the people for a moment in the ‘sunlight’

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      An illustrative point would be James Dyson. He has moved his manufacturing out of the UK, not for cheap labour, his processes are automated. But the UK regulatory and tax system sets out to penalize.

      So he can now manufacture his goods abroad have them shipped back to the UK, not contribute fully to the finances of the UK. But enjoy the wealth, infrastructure that the UK provides in a freeloading capacity. He is just doing what any sane business would do, why accept punishment and expense when you have done nothing wrong?

  34. Tom Weston
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    With the added benefit that tariffs charged on non-EU imports will now be retained solely by the UK rather than the majority transferred to Brussels for them to distribute elsewhere.

  35. rose
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    You must be very pleased. It is four years almost since you first asked for this.

  36. Passingby
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Nobody in the rest of Europe, ie.the other 27 or indeed the wider world gives two sugars for the new tariff schedule- it’s just seen as more play acting

  37. bill brown
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Ian Wragg

    that will then work both ways

  38. DavidJ
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    “The Government has removed tariffs on products that cannot be produced in the UK”

    Will the government introduce tariffs to protect key industries and enable them to recover without having to complete with low grade Chinese tat, especially steel?

    Will government also stop the sellout of our key industries to the Chinese?

  39. Ian Pennell
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    Import Tariffs should indeed be cut- progressively- to zero: This will reduce the cost of living further. Our farmers can be helped in other ways- perhaps that is the one (strategic) industry we can subsidise so that Britain’s food supplies remain robust.

    However, one way for paying for Tariff reductions- and providing funds to invest more in roads and railways post Coronavirus- will be to sharply increase Import Tariffs on goods from the one country that should pay for the cost of allowing a Pandemic to ravage populations (and economies) across the World- namely China! We import about £45 billion worth of goods each year made in China so a 50% Tariff would raise upwards of £20 billion per annum. I am sure you will agree, Sir that is money that the Treasury could really do with since the Gilts Markets wont let Britain borrow £300 billion per annum forever!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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