Where is the UK’s tariff schedule for March 30 2019?

I am writing to Liam Fox at the Department for International Trade to ask to see the UK’s proposed tariff schedules for trading with the world after March 29 2019, assuming we leave without an agreement with the EU. I will say:

I welcome the government’s determination to complete preparations for leaving the EU without an agreement and to share the details with the public and Parliament in good time. I am sure you and your department will be pleased to set out the terms on which the UK will trade with the world once we have left, and to get on with negotiating new free trade agreements with the many countries in the world which would like one with us, as well as with the EU assuming they too wish to share the ideas of their Canada free trade agreement more widely.

One of the most important statements that the UK is open for business and ready for life outside the EU will be the publication of our schedule of tariffs or trading terms for when we have left. It would be good to know the proposals as soon as possible, as business could start to exploit the advantages of a better schedule as soon as it knows what the UK’s intentions are. I assume you do not intend to simply copy the full EU tariff schedule we currently have to use for non EU trade, but would wish to set out a tariff schedule tailor made for the UK’s needs.

Once we are out the EU then of course if we continue to impose tariffs on the rest of the world we will have to impose the same tariffs on the EU. I would like to know your thinking on how we might modify their schedule, especially in the following ways.

Would we remove all low tariffs on the grounds that costs of collection hardly make them worthwhile? This could simplify business life for many.
Would we remove high agricultural tariffs from food we cannot produce for ourselves, to give consumers a better deal? Why, for example, would we want to keep tariffs on citrus fruit after we have left?
Would we adjust agricultural tariffs on products we can produce here to a lower average level than the current high level imposed on non EU product, when EU product has to face the same tariff level? Is there an optimum tariff level on products like beef and pork which would still offer good protection for UK farmers, but would cut the cost of non EU imports? Much of the competitive threat to UK farmers currently comes from no tariff product from the continent.
Would we remove all tariffs from components needed in the supply chain for the manufacture of complex goods in the UK?

Setting our own schedule gives us great scope to get rid of tariffs which hurt the UK consumer which are designed to help continental business more than us, and gives us scope to concentrate remaining tariffs in areas of UK farming and industry that need some protection as they adjust to the new global approach the UK will be taking.

I look forward to seeing the publication of your proposals. These could be good for UK trade and our economy. They are likely to result in import substitution in areas like farming.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,
    Dr. Redwood, I would hope that this issue will be covered in the ‘Brexiteers Free Trade Agreement Proposal’ that we are all looking forward to, that will finally kill-off Chequers.

    My question is, why has the PM’s office produced such a terrible proposal as Chequers, and why is she continuing to try to sell it? If we presume that the PM and her team are not idiots, why then would they produce a proposal that is so bad? Do they have a more complex game-plan that, if the PM really is a closet remainer, keeps us in the EU? Anybody else think there is something going on?

    • eeyore
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Publication of a tariff schedule, and of other plans for No Deal, would obviously strengthen Britain’s negotiating hand. Had HMG wanted a stronger hand they would already have been published. The conclusion needs no labouring.

      From Mrs May’s viewpoint, committed as she is to a policy she disapproves of, she does her public duty by saving us from ourselves. The difficulties she suffers as a consequence may encourage lofty sensations of martyrdom and self-sacrifice. To a daughter of the vicarage this need not be congenial.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a suggested draft of the tariff schedule:-

        – zero tariffs on everything

        • Richard1
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear we can rule out Boris Johnson becoming PM. what a fool

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            It will not do him much harm. But can he get past the mainly appalling, daft & left wind Tory MPs we currently have? The ones who thought Theresa May and even John Major (twice) were good choices for leaders.

    • Gary C
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Re: Anybody else think there is something going on?


      Yesterday we met a retired couple who reside in Spain they were convinced they would not get their pension when we leave.

      I asked them how they thought expats in Australia, Canada etc got their pension and why they thought their pension would be withheld, they could not answer and continued to spout nonsense like airplanes not being able to fly.

      The campaign of fear put forward by remain has been very effective. Why is the leave message not reaching these people?

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        That is very sad to read Gary the government near to clear this up quickly pensioners in the EU should not feel they can’t get the pensions they paid their National Insurance to receive this is frankly appaling of the government to allow this to continue.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          The Government do, I think, still steal the annual increases of some pensioners who do not live in the EU!

    • old salt
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Peter Wood – Yes, having lost a degree of credibility one becomes very suspicious. With the establishment and the EU seemingly intent on effectively keeping us in the EU or BRINO as I understand it to be it would seem to be the intention, and succeeding, to sway the polling in favour of staying in.

      The disingenuous talk by the Remainers of crashing out without a deal, falling off a cliff etc. is doing enormous damage to our economy and standing in the world with all the uncertainty for businesses not to mention the pound particularly since mid-April this year.

      If Mrs May wants to know what will happen to the Conservative Party if she breaks her promises on Brexit, she just has to look at the Lib Dems and what happened to them after they broke their promise, on an issue of a much different magnitude, not to raise student fees. That proved electorally suicidal. The Conservatives could fare even worse.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        old salt do the politicians really care what happens to the Conservative Party? (I don’t think so) I think the higher-ups want to splinter the two main parties into four parties so that we end up in a perpetual mess like Spain, Germany and others unable to get a big enough majority on one manifesto to really make the changes people voted for, just look what happened with the LibCons.

        As for May and Hammond, both in their 60’s straight into the Lords or retired off into a blissful wealthy retirement, it’s not exactly like Cameron Clegg or Osborne and other mid-career politicians who couldn’t handle the change the electors selected after they gave them the choice leave or remain. I remember Clegg calling for the people to get the decision and when they went against his view he spat his dummy out.

        Our economy is being slowed, government spending has been squeezed shut recently, the constant panic by MPs and lack of calm and steady plus this latest revealing of secret papers to be photographed what a bunch of incompetents they are revealing themselves to be.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted September 8, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        “The EU” (is that a person, a state or maybe a club?) does not want to keep the UK as a member of the club. The UK could reapply or cancel art 50. If it cancels, there will be trouble domestically as well with the UK’s position (loss of face, lack of reliability, etc). If the UK reapplies, it will be subject to standard entry requirements: Schengen, Euro and normal contributions. Not very likely to do well with the UK electorate either.

        So the best the EU can offer is something like the most recent FTA/association treaties (Ukraine, Canada) or the ones in the pipeline (Singapore, Japan, Australia, Mercosur). Or returning to the former EFTA group (the Norway option).

        Other arrangements will be very difficult to negotiate within the EU (unanimity) and suffer from a distinct and growing lack of goodwill towards the UK among EU members (some more than others.

        My sympathies are with the poor souls who have to represent the economic interests of the UK with such a divided, poorly informed and emotional electorate behind them.

        But once again, it is a grave error to believe that “the EU wants to keep the UK in” It is quite the opposite. The EU wants to control damange as much as possible, no more.

    • A different Simon
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      You are making an absolutely heroic assumption that the PM and her team are not idiots .

      On almost every issue the evidence indicates arrogance , incompetence, a lack of wisdom , vanity , obsessive image consciousness and worst of all fanatical personal political ambition .

      For example , her determination to undermine Putin and Lavrov mean that the Silovik are likely to replace them with hardliners who are much more difficult to deal with .

      She is obviously only the articulator and presenter of the Chequers plan , not the author .

    • Peter
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      There is a lot going on. I have no idea what though.

      If you are suggesting that May is clever enough to have engineered events so that the eventual outcome is what she seeks I see no evidence. She just seems out of kilter with what voters want and tone deaf to criticism. Everything she touches is a shambles. Always has been.

      Civil servants/spads giving her bullets to fire? Possibly.

      Current media comment seems to suggest WTO is a non starter. However, no evidence is given and it may be journalistic wishful thinking written down as fact. Canada or Canada plus seems to be the media-favoured compromise.

      Many ordinary voters would be happy to just leave and go to WTO – but we don’t count.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted September 8, 2018 at 2:32 am | Permalink

        I would have thought that anyone who has worked in a shared office with one kettle would understand that if you don’t want to be the one always making the tea and coffee all you need do is ensure the stuff tastes ghastly. Even Mrs May is capable of hoisting that in.
        It has always been her intention to ensure there is no planned alternative to her deal. Because, firstly, if she is unable to convince people, they would be unable to point to something better. Secondly, and more importantly, she really does not see anything wrong with rule by Brussels. She is a technocratic supra-nationalist. She really does want BRINO/vassalage. It is logical that she should, as she has done, veto or discourage any plans for UK being independent either with a decent FTA with the EU or under WTO rules.

    • KZB
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      What is going on is, the EU have stated they cannot allow deals which give the UK “unfair competitive advantage”.
      Optimising our tariff schedule in the way outlined gives us competitive advantage. Do I need to go on?

      • NickC
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        KZB, Out on WTO terms means the EU don’t have a say. That was the purpose of the Leave outcome we voted for.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted September 8, 2018 at 2:42 am | Permalink

        KXB, you probably do. I watched Youtube clip of Verhofstadt explaining to the Brexit Select Cttee that as a third country UK would be able to play its full hand and the EU would be able to bend its rules but while UK is a member the rules are the rules and there cannot be any exceptions. He was met with blank stares and silence. Of course the transition period explicitly extends the period of the rules being the rules until December 2020 or later. So UK will not be a third country before 2021.
        the EU’s strategic aim is simple and entirely logical. A successful fully independent UK, or one which by treaty with the EU has a better deal than the other members, is an existential threat to the entire EU project. Therefore the EU must strangle UK’s independence at birth. Verhofstadt did not say this but the implication was clear. So long as the EU i has UK locked into negotiations it can do this. If UK were to break cleanly from the EU by ending negotiations with out a deal then it could fully regain independence and succeed. Then, from a subsequent position of strength in five or more years hence gain just about any deal it might want.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Why is Theresa May still so determinedly pursuing such a stupid scheme?

      I don’t know, but it was in May that I told her to get herself a better Brexit adviser, in a letter published in the Maidenhead Advertiser which started:


      “I was staggered to read this in a Sunday newspaper, referring to Theresa May’s preferred plan for a crazy “customs partnership” with the EU:

      “Mrs May’s No 10 Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, has told her that the ‘partnership’ is the only idea which will allow the UK to cut new trade deals while avoiding the need for a hard border in Ireland …”

      I suggest Mrs May should get herself a new Brexit adviser who will not talk such nonsense.”

      And went on to explain that the Irish border “problem” is at most minor and easily solved, and arguably it could even be dismissed as a fake problem invented by the EU and the new Irish government, as this Irish author wrote yesterday:


      “The Irish Government is currently doing its utmost to subvert a meaningful Brexit by playing up the North-South Irish Border as a “problem”, in close cooperation with Michel Barnier and his EU Commission negotiating team — and behind the scenes with “Remainer” elements in the UK.

      The best solution to this particular problem is that the UK should replace the relevant parts of its domestic legislation implementing the EU Single Market laws with new domestic legislation prohibiting carriage across the land border in Ireland of any goods which the EU would regard as illicit. Such a new UK law should be rigorously enforced by UK customs officers operating in Northern Ireland, in continuing co-operation with Irish customs officers as may be required.

      The UK Parliament has already passed a new Act controlling the issue of haulage permits, and that or similar legislation could be used as part of the enforcement process to protect the EU Single Market from unwanted imports across any open land border in Ireland.”

      I also see today a suggestion that EU officials could be allowed to inspect goods in the UK ports before they are shipped to Ireland:


      but that is giving way to the EU’s insistence that Northern Ireland should remain under all EU rules on goods when its only legitimate and reasonable request could be that which was outlined above, namely that UK law should continue to ensure that nothing which the EU would regard as illicit would find its way into the goods carried across the border into the Republic from the north.

      • Andy
        Posted September 9, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        The NI RofI border is really a problem for the EU. Barmy Barnier was pontificating only last weekend about the sanctity of EU external borders, so it is for them to police Their border. We can do as we please on our side. Simply tell the EU to get stuffed.

    • Richard
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      There has been “something going on” for a long time!

      We have had the fiscal & monetary tightening ever since March 2017.

      Within days of the UK doing too well in these “negotiations”, Mrs May was told to make her Florence ‘important intervention’:
      https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/30/brexit-showdown-eu-left-flabbergasted-british-negotiators-dismantle/ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/04/may-to-make-important-intervention-on-brexit-verhofstadt-predicts Mr Robbins confirmed this week that he was appointed to his present position on 2 Sept 2017.

      The zero-for-zero interim EU-UK FTA discussed before the 2017 election, https://www.politico.eu/article/britain-10-year-interim-zero-for-zero-trade-deal-brexit/ became an “implementation period” after it.

      Orders were given long ago: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/936045/Brexit-news-UK-negotiation-Jean-Claude-Juncker-Theresa-May-EU-deal-reveal-latest

    • NickC
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood, Chequers (ie the White Paper written by Olly Robbins team) – or something based on it – would be turned into law by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour voting for it. That’s what I think will happen. Labour will see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a bloodbath in the Tory party, and possibly its extinction.

      The Robbins WP, being a revolving-door Remain, suits most Remain MPs. Most MPs are Remain. QED. Tory Brexit MPs have no answer to that, as far as I am aware.

    • Bob
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      “If we presume that the PM and her team are not idiots…”

      not just idiots, useful idiots!

    • Sobstory
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Peter wood..Chequers is in the realm of fudge..she, Mrs May, was only hoping that the EU side could meet her somewhere in the middle of this fantasy world..but alas it was not to be.. the ‘Barnier’ is not for dallying in the world of fudge it seems..he has his orders..and orders must be obeyed.. all according to the EU rulebook.. UK side should know all about this rulebook as we were at the forefront in writing it for over forty five years.. we were also at the forefront in writing the Belfast agreement.. what is surprising is that some of us now seem to be ‘surprised’ that the EU side is not falling over itself to break it’s own rules all to suit UK’s latest attempt at cherrypicking ? It’s just not going to happen

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted September 8, 2018 at 2:20 am | Permalink

      My sympathies, Peter Wood. Mrs May is a true technocratic supra-nationalist in an extremely difficult position. Although formally the Prime Minister of UK she is also a member of the European Council and as such duty bound to give precedence to the EU where there is a conflict of interest with UK’s national interest. In effect she is the Governor of the EU provinces of England Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Enscowalni. these past two years she has been faced with an English led rebellion – it’s always the pesky English who just will not be told. The continent has put up with this for almost a thousand years. It really cannot go on.
      She is continuing negotiations as Governor with her masters but the degree of autonomy to be allowed to Enscowalni is proving difficult to agree, as anyone involved in the devolution of Scotland and Wales would know only too well.

  2. Hover fly
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    JR Please If you have some time in the coming weeks and months would you answer me one question which has always nagged? A short answer may do.

    60 years ago, a popular vacuum cleaner lasted more than a decade or even two . Same with
    some other goods. Nowadays, far less. Are we heading for an economy where quality is sacrificed for quantity and must it be so?

    Reply I don’t accept the premise. Some of my home machines last a long time following modern purchase.

    • Dominic Johnson
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      The long life fallacy is just that, a fallacy

      There was a very good “only fools and horses joke on the matter”
      One if the cast received an award for using the same brush for 20 years, he just replaced the brush head 20 times and the handle 10

      Older products didn’t last longer, they broke frequently and used several complete sets of spare parts.

      • Dennis
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        DJ – I don’t believe that. Our vacuum cleaner, 4 radios, electric drill, fridge never had a repair nor any replaced parts during the the late 1940s to the 60s.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink


          Well my Henry, 1 radio and electric drill are all going strong after around 15 years. I do have a new fridge as my old one broke and was replaced free of charge under warranty . So lots of things last still

          I have an old Nokia 3310 that still works , its just that I prefer to use a modern smartphone . Its not that modern things break its that technology supersedes them

    • old salt
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Being of a certain age I seem to remember the EU at the outset determined that certain products would be manufactured with a certain lifespan in order to boost European industry. Or did I dream it?

      This would be born out in our experience with many products especially from a large European country. Virtually every product we have has been and still are troublesome to the point of buying elsewhere where possible, and that goes for cars also. Never again European with their unreliability and virtually non-existent support for the many issues encountered. Give me a Japanese car anytime for reliability etc.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Nor do I. Neither would I wish to exchange my Dyson with its far superior design and convenience for something pre-Dyson. And I must add that my car is 18 years old. It has done 216,000 miles and still runs like a dream. And it is not rusting away. It can’t be said that cars of the 60s and 70s were as good. I was there too.

      • Dennis
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        My Peugeot 107 has done 31,000 miles when the clutch actually broke. Out of warranty so a new clutch gave a bill of £664!

        • NickC
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Dennis, Buy a Kia with a seven year warranty. Though to be fair my Citroen Berlingo did 15 years and 100,000+ miles before I needed to replace the clutch. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Hover fly – I don’t think it is the manufacture of products that is the problem I believe it is the repair shops that have disappeared because shop rental and rates got too high for them and once out of town or working from home they got forgotten about; or the cost of repair is so high it is sometimes better value to buy a completely new item. Then insurance and household cover policies sometimes decide they’ll replace rather than repair. The Gas people for example condemn fires after they’re about 2 years old because regulations change all the time, perfectly acceptable fires then get warning notices on them just a couple of years after purchase.

      • Dominic Johnson
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        There is a Dyson repair man in my local town, but even then only the top tier.
        My £100 hand held one isn’t worth repairing, my £30 Tesco plug in, it’s barely worth me cleaning the filter.

        I recently replaced my gas boiler.
        £50 callout, £50ph to diagnose and fix, plus cost of parts.
        Even if it’s a minor job, he still has to make safe, take off the wall, disassemble, figure out what’s wrong, replace it and reinstate

        Or he can make safe, take off the wall, put new one on and reinstate.
        Even if it’s cheaper to replace the heat exchanger, you’re still putting a 10yr old boiler back in service, and it’s going to have to be off the wall again to replace the 10yr old pump soon enough.

        Nothing is irreparable, but beyond economical repair comes very quickly.
        And a lot is now built in clean rooms as well, you couldn’t take apart a modern gearbox in a back Street garage and put it back together

    • agricola
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I too have wondered about built in obsolescence in modern items, but the advent of ISO 9000 has increased the quality level in recent years so I am not convinced. Cars do not need the level of maintenance they did in the past, but if parts have to be bought then they will cost you ten times the price that the car manufacturer pays his supplier. One of the reasons car insurance is so expensive. Spare parts are where the profit is.

    • Norman
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Built-in obsolescence has been a deliberate manufacturing policy since the early 20th century. There was a famed agricultural machinery firm in East Anglia, whose seed drills and other equipment never wore out, leading to the company’s demise. An objective now is to pare down costs to a minimum, thus increasing profitability and sustainable future sales: hence the ‘New Improved’ version of — (whatever). The digital revolution has of course given added impetus, with many genuine improvements incorporated, but likely shorter lifespan.

    • Hover fly
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      I take your point JR. Now I think about it, looking around outside, I do have have quite a large dwelling by comparison.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Hover Fly,

      Like political parties, policies, currencies and nations?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Things were built to be repaired in the past. They didn’t last longer, they just got repaired instead of replaced.

      The fact is that a local repairman’s hourly rate is far higher than a Chinese factory worker’s hourly rate for making a whole new machine (and the sailor’s rate for bringing it here.)

    Posted September 7, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    You’re asking questions to which you probably know the answer but as a tactic it may be useful to flush out the fox. I doubt such probing though will provide any real answers to the questions we demand clarity on

    The pro-EU, liberal left zealots have penetrated all aspects of the state while the Eurosceptic presence is mightily thin in that area. We are outsiders fighting a force that holds all the cards.

    The hope is that Johnson becomes leader, destroys Labour and then purges the state and returns democracy and parliament to its rightful owners, the British people. There is no other solution to the appalling assault on our cherished nation and its institutions by this unsavoury clan

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Shouldn’t put too much hope on Johnson becoming leader of anything.

      He will be kept too busy sorting out his own sordid private life.

      • Prigger
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        @margaret howard
        “private” life. How would you know then?

        • margaret howard
          Posted September 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          My reply was removed. Didn’t fit the right agenda. Long live democracy.

      • L Jones
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        ”Sordid private life”, eh? Perhaps some of your EU masters might like to have their private lives ”sorted” too. I’m sure they’re not all decent, clean-living people behind closed doors.
        Just like many of us. (Except you, obviously, Margaret.)

      • NickC
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Howard, It is much more sordid for Theresa May to promise she will implement the Leave outcome we voted for, then rat on it.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        Whereas theres nothing at all happening in the Absolute Boys private life, no there isn’t at all honest, nothing

        I wouldn’t go that route if i were you

  4. Annette
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I think you, & all sensible people, know why. The pro-EU philes ‘negotiating’ our leaving know that schedules lay bare for people & businesses alike that WTO is better than May’s current offering (& is what we voted for – independence).
    It also would lay the ‘terms’ that the the EU would have to better to secure a ‘deal’. They can’t have the plebs knowing how much we’re going to be screwed, can they? They’re hoping that we’ll never find out.
    I read a short while ago that they were busy ‘cutting & pasting’ the EU’s schedules for presentation to the WTO. I hope that’s untrue. With every day, May’s scorched earth policy destroys your party with it. Look at Hammond’s latest. Why don’t they join Corbyn’s ranks – they ain’t no conservatives.

    Good work. Keep up the letters & publishing them. I’d like to see one on the EU tax construct VAT & whether its ‘replacement’ will exempt utilities & other essential items that have been added over the years.

    • Richard
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Martin Howe QC pointed out that our new WTO schedule will specify the UK’s new maximum level of tariffs and, like our host, detailed the very high tariff wall on goods no longer made in the UK. https://brexitcentral.com/leaving-eu-wto-terms-will-pull-barriers-world-trade-cut-prices-consumers/

      This is why prices will fall after a Proper Brexit. The UK could choose to drop eg oranges tariffs from 16% to 0%, but retain tariffs on eg lamb & beef that UK produces. That keeps an incentive for USA, Brazil, Australia etc to agree FTAs with the UK.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Well done and keep up the good work. Meanwhile Hammond attacks the self employed again I see, ratting on another pledge just like the £1 million IHT threshold promised years ago by Osborne but never delivered. Get rid of Hammond before we have to suffer another of his dire budgets and he retains the wrong headed Mark Carney any longer.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Carney’s a stooge LL, they keep him there because they need him there. He is part of the May, Hammond, and Robbins plan to sell us out. Happily, even the brighter and less intransigent remainers are starting to see the subterfuge for what it is, and are rejecting the on-going pro-EU con being played upon the public. They must feel embarrassed by their naivety sometimes, but as the saying goes, it’s never too late to learn.


      • margaret howard
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink


        “They must feel embarrassed by their naivety sometimes, but as the saying goes, it’s never too late to learn.”

        On the contrary.

        Reading the pro Brexit comments here has convinced me more than ever that we must fight to retain our European membership and defeat a ‘Little England’ victory not fit for our young people in the 21st century.

        EXIT BREXIT!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          It it not “Little England” it is trading with the whole wide world (including the EU). It is being a democratic and competitive nation again. If we remain it would be ‘no England’ and mere regions, broken up England and UK regions of an anti-democratic, dire, socialist, top down, over taxed and over regulated superstate.

          Surely you can see this?

          • margaret howard
            Posted September 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            No I can’t. The REAL danger is that the Brexit vote will lead to the very thing you fear – namely the break up of the UK with Ireland and Scotland going their own way leaving a rump England.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          I stand by my original comment. Unwittingly, you continue to prove my point.

          • margaret howard
            Posted September 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink


      • NickC
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Tad Davison, Spot on.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Prince Charles once again totally wrong headed I see. He is very reliable at being wrong.

    The Prince, interviewed ahead of his 70th birthday, says he “totally and utterly objects” to an “extraordinary trend” for seeking machines to replace human functions, worrying for the effects on people’s well-being.
    Saying he finds it “crazy” to strive for ever more integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics with the human experience, he suggests it would eventually lead to people craving the return of traditional crafts.

    Perhaps he should work in a car factory doing thousands of welds a day by hand fro a year or two. Or perhaps he just thinks we should all go to work in a hand made coracle and live in thatched houses and cut straw and reeds by hand or something.

    • 37/6
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      AI cannot be stopped.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      For centuries people have feared progress and change.
      Invention and improvement has created employment not reduced it.
      Would Prince Charles prefer to dig a ditch by hand instead of using a JCB?
      Or write out a thousand invoices by hand instead of using a computer?
      Or empty a ships cargo by hand?
      The jobs he likes were hard backbreaking jobs that are now done by machinery.
      He is so out of touch it is frightening.

      • Dennis
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        And when AI gets rid of the JCB, computer, cranes and every other kind of machine and does every kind of work done by humans? Perhaps we can just write books, films, paint etc. right out of the head onto production and accessibility. And there is athletics, football etc.

        It might work.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          I’m optimistic we will find new things to do.
          We always have.
          One new industry will be making, servicing, programming and repairing all these AI robots!

        • libertarian
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink


          They said exactly the same when the computer was first introduced into the general market place in the early 1970’s. We lost 800,000 jobs due to computer automation….. and created 3 million new ones.

          The same will happen with AI. There will be all kinds of new jobs for humans to do once drudge repetitive jobs are automated

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Would Prince Charles prefer to dig a ditch by hand instead of using a JCB?
        Or write out a thousand invoices by hand instead of using a computer?
        Or empty a ships cargo by hand?

        Perhaps he just prefer the workers to do it by hand for him so it is a bit quieter for him in the big house. Horses so much nicer than tractors to view from the window.

    • Nigel Seymour
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Sounds like you don’t want a revival of the luddite movement then!

      • Stred
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        A robot king would be better than Charles the Green. It could be a programmed to behave like his mother and stay out of politics and environmental arguments.

        • L Jones
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          I think it’s better to keep Mrs May as your target here. At least she could answer her detractors (if she wished to).

          As usual, anything that Prince Charles says is taken out of context, or, at the very least, exaggerated and he is not given credit for making people discuss the issue by voicing an opinion – and he may even be playing devil’s advocate, after all.
          And many of you are discussing the issue here – so he’s smart, isn’t he?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          Exactly especially when his homeopathic, keeper of faiths, greencrap, ludite, BBC think views are so bonkers.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Been there. Done that. Got the holes in the t-shirt to prove it! I am so glad that I am finished with all of it. Automation, in such cases, is sensible and safer, but as I said to a top car company boss, many years ago, bring in robots but you will have a difficult job selling them one of your products! In any event, the Government’s anti-car stance (EU-directed, of course) will kill it all off. Their obsession with the new generation of glorified milk floats is baffling and far too premature..

    • Norman
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      To be fair to Prince Charles, despite the upside of new technology, it arguably does have a dehumanizing effect on us. The pace of change in just one century is mind-blowing. Although work on the farm was hard and long in my father’s time, as well as poorly paid , it was also rewarding in ways that are hard to quantify, and are now largely gone. There was a sense of achievement, and a camaraderie that’s absent in a push-button age. A good, purposeful, structured, working lifestyle is good for the human soul. As we see on our urban streets, ‘the devil makes work for idle hands to do’, and to an extent, it was ever thus. The Prince is addressing quality of life issues, and I am sure many would agree with him there.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink


        It’s just Prince Charles doing the usual outspokenness about something which is politically safe.

        “Those damn robots !”

        “Damn architects !”

        Waste of space.

      • libertarian
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink


        I think you missed the fact that there are 32 million people in employment , the highest total ever and there are 826,000 unfilled jobs available

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The World at One yesterday claimed that Cameron insisted on playing by “Queensbury rules” in the EU referendum. What planet are the BBC on? He and the government sloped the pitch at evert turn wherever they could. From the leaflet of lies, to the threats from Carney and Osborne, the lies form T May that we had control of our border within the EU and in almost every department of state.

    Not only that he lied that he would issue notice to leave the next day and would stay on. He failed totally to prepare at all for the quite likely no vote (which was gross negligence) and then just abandoned ship. Cast Iron, low tax at heart, Eurosceptic, faux “Conservative” was not remotely honourable.

  8. Kevin
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    JR writes: “It would be good to know the [tariff] proposals as soon as possible, as business could start to exploit the advantages of a better schedule as soon as it knows what the UK’s intentions are.”

    Yesterday, you mentioned the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I note that, according to Wikipedia, “[t]he GDPR was adopted on 14 April 2016, and became enforceable beginning 25 May 2018”.

    So, apparently, there was a two-year notice period before this EU regulation came into effect. If we have a pro-Remain Cabinet, they ought to be familiar with such procedure. The fact, then, that they have not published a UK-tailored tariff schedule with only seven months to go before their declared exit date from the EU suggests to me that they do not have the intention to publish one.

    But thanks for asking, anyway.

    • acorn
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      It was published to WTO members on the 24th July. You might get to read my more detailed comment made today at 6:10 am.

      Reply Yes, but not the amended one I am proposing for No Deal

      • acorn
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        The WTO has the EU “no deal back stop” version, with the unilateral TRQ splits.

        • NickC
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Acorn, The TRQ splits are only “unilateral” in the sense that the final agreements have to start somewhere. And the only real starting point is for the EU and UK to agree the splits pro rata, initially. Which is what they did do. There will be subsequent concluding negotiations within the WTO.

          • acorn
            Posted September 8, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            The negotiations happen, tri-partite mostly in this case, between the EU, UK and the third countries individually, not “within” the WTO.

          • NickC
            Posted September 8, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

            Acorn, That depends what you mean by “within”. As WTO members both the EU and the UK must negotiate within the WTO rules. Any third party in the WTO must also stay within WTO rules.

            To quote the WTO: “The WTO has many roles: it operates a global system of trade rules, it acts as a forum for negotiating trade agreements, it settles trade disputes between its members …”. So I think it’s fair to say that “There will be subsequent concluding negotiations within the WTO.”

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        JR, in this context wouldn’t the crucial distinction have to be between leaving the EU with or without a subsequent standstill period, the oxymoronic “status quo” transition period, rather than leaving with or without a deal? If there was a deal but it did not provide for a period after we had left when nothing would change, then we would need to have our own new tariffs worked out to apply to goods imported from the EU as well as from the rest of the world. Are you not really saying that no deal would necessarily mean no transition period and so we need to get everything ready for March 29th 2019 and not assume that some things could just be kicked down the road for a couple of years, as now seems to be suggested for finding a permanent solution to the invented Irish border problem?

        • acorn
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          “The terms of this transition agreement would mean the UK will be treated as if it were an EU Member State for most relevant purposes from when it leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

          However, this agreement will not be legally binding until the Withdrawal Agreement is formally agreed and ratified, a process which is expected to start in October 2018 and must conclude by 29 March 2019. (Clifford Chance LLP)

  9. Adam
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    It is an intelligent approach to Liam Fox. One wonders why he & others in Theresa May’s Brexit team should need such a prompt. They should act to exert leverage in favour of UK’s position on their own initiative.

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    ***sing in the wind Mr Redwood.

    Your party does not share your vision or optimism. They are Stockholm syndrome survivors

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink


      I often look back and try to see where the Tory party turned into the Lib Dems, but alas, there wasn’t a singularity, it was a gradual process. It was creeping and insidious, and came about with the wrong type of people being selected as prospective parliamentary candidates. That is hugely relevant to today’s topic because had true Tories been selected and subsequently elected, Brexit would have been done and dusted by now.

      Instead, we get the likes of May and Hammond going against the wishes of the majority, and May’s pro-EU predecessors trying their level best to skew things their way. The party needs to be purged of their kind in order to re-invent itself and to have any future at all.


      • Oxiana321
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Was this not the result of a conscious decision by the Conservatives from the 1990’s onwards to move towards and then occupy the centre ground, in effect to mimic the perceived success of Blair’s government? In doing so, the party would have naturally appealed to candidates that are less likely to be fixated with or espouse traditional Conservative values (low tax, small government etc.).

        • Tad Davison
          Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          There are some principles the Tories should never have compromised. Low taxation; the encouragement of free enterprise of all sizes including start-ups; a tough stance on law and order; a strong military that is capable of defending these shores and its chains of international commerce; a sovereign parliament answerable only to the UK electorate; an education system where discipline and respect actually means something and produces skills the country actually needs; and where people are unable to look after themselves, a mechanism to provide security and healthcare. They are all eminently deliverable, provided we have enough of the right people in the right positions. Sadly, the party seems to have lost its way because those who led it lost their way – and that is being very very charitable to get past the moderators!


  11. Ian wragg
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    What about Operation Yellowhammer whicj Eeyore wants to foist on us in the event of no deal.
    He is desperate to cause a recession and blame Brexit.
    Will Fox actually let you see the tariff table and will it be cut and paste of EU tariffs after all May and Hammond want to sign up to a non regression clause thereby shackling us to Brussels.

  12. agricola
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    As I remember it the compendium on tariffs is a vast tome, I do not envy anyone the task of changing the percentages. I doubt whether in the ministry concerned, presumably HMRC, there is anyone qualified to make a judgement. In general terms it should be done to shield our industry against surplus dumping. Milk comes to mind, but not there to protect the inefficient. I cannot see any argument for inflicting duty on things we cannot produce ourselves, citrus fruit for instance. It needs to be an open ongoing scenario because situations are almost always in a state of change.

  13. ChrisS
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Without a free trade deal in place, surely under WTO rules we must impose the same tariffs on EU products as those from outside the EU ?

    If that is the case, we have a serious negotiating argument : for example, the current 10% tariff on cars from outside the EU must be extended to German and French cars.

    In a sensible world ( not the EU, obviously ) that would be sufficient incentive for German and French politicians to get on and negotiate properly.

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink


      “In a sensible world ( not the EU, obviously ) that would be sufficient incentive for German and French politicians to get on and negotiate properly”

      In a sensible world the REMAIN vote would have prevailed.

      We voted to quit, not the other members of the community.

      So it is up to our politicians to be sensible. The EU holds all the cards.

    • NickC
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      ChrisS, In the context of the global trading system administered by the WTO, as an independent nation we can choose what tariff levels we like. The WTO has the remit to work for the removal or lowering of tariffs and NTBs for both goods and services, so obviously will not look kindly on high tariffs. On the MFN basis we must apply the same tariffs to all countries. We do not need to (and indeed shouldn’t) impose the same tariffs as the EU does. So we could choose 5% tariff for cars. That would make RoW cars 5% cheaper and EU cars 5% dearer.

  14. Stred
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    They have taken 2 years to deliberately to nothing and if the schedule exists or is not a copy of EU tariffs it would be amazing. May and Hammond always intended to subvert any real Brexit and this is why she undermined the work of The Department for Exiting and scuppered the Canada ++proposals. It was going to be accepted and preferred by Tusk and Barnier. Clarke had been preparing Brino for the car makers and big business. Laval’s hands were cleaner.

    • NickC
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Stred, Indeed you are right. There has been a level of deceit that exceeds even Tony Blair’s.

  15. hellbent
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    This is all a load of nonsense- we are so near the end now that it is not worth while speculating- The government and Liam Fox has had plenty of time to produce a tariffs schedule to meet our new circumstances but for whatever reason has not done so. Let’s look at the calendar- the Tory party conference at the end of Sept followed by the EU council meeting in October where Chequers will be finally called out for what it is a dead duck- more talks in Nov and Dec about a possible Canada Plus but leading to nowhere because of the NI border and Britain will be then out in March to WTO rules. This will place a hard border in Ireland- eventually leading to the breakup of the UK itself- so probably Nov Dec 2018 will be time enough to prepare tariff schedules.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      “This will place a hard border in Ireland”

      Why? Neither side want a hard border, so why would there be one?

      I read here today:


      “Dominic Raab has threatened Michel Barnier with the prospect that the EU will be forced to order the Irish government to reinstate the border in Northern Ireland in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the Telegraph can reveal.”

      and that doesn’t make any sense either.

      My concern about Dominic Raab is rising exponentially.

      • NickC
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper, I don’t trust Dominic Raab any more than you appear to do. However Mr Raab appears to have pointed out a truth to Mr Barnier: that any hard border the EU threatens us with, will be implemented by the EU because the UK isn’t going to put one there.

    • NickC
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Hellbent, A “hard” border between Northern Ireland and Eire will only occur if either the UK or the EU put one there. The UK has said it will not put a hard border in place. So you will only get one if the EU does. That then becomes their responsibility.

  16. hellbent
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    The Berlin wall fell and it fell overnight to everyone’s surprise- the same will happen to the Irish border because it was also built in a different time but is not a natural construct.

  17. George Brooks
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    It is absolutely right to ask for this information to be published not only to remove some uncertainty for British businesses but the very important part it will play in the current negotiations with the EU. We need to show Barnier and the rest of the EU how we intend to trade from 30th March 2019 onwards.

    If the schedule of tariffs is structured to benefit this country and it’s declared aim to trade openly worldwide, ie make it very attractive to all who would like to trade with us, we will not only gain the ‘high ground’ in the negotiations but be able to bin the Withdrawal Agreement and move the talks on to getting a worthwhile deal.

    We don’t need any of those ‘UK destroying compromises’ proposed in Chequers we just need to give a clear indication of life after Brexit. All 27 members want to protect their trade and when they see what the picture will look like next April, Barnier will be made to change his approach or be removed.

    Mr Hammond will not need to waste thousands of hours of Treasury time working out how much these tariffs might either gain or cost us as he will have a large proportion of the £39bn to offset any short term costs as we will only need to pay what we ACTUALLY owe.

    My major worry over this approach is that we might get another ”David Davis” incident. Insomuch either the PM our one of her ardent remainers will pile into Dr Fox’s department and make sure nothing is published. In my view it would be a criminal act if this happens

    Publish the tariffs and gain the High Ground and get with implementing Brexit.

  18. English Pensioner
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    In general terms we should place tariffs on those things that we can make ourselves or can import from “friendly” countries outside the EU. We should not charge huge tariffs on goods from the third word but encourage their exports as help to make them more self sufficient.
    I read a few months ago that the EU allows coffee beans in tariff free, but when Kenya wanted to export processed/ freeze dried instant coffee, there was a huge tariff to protect the major EU producer. This should stop, the poorer countries will remain permanently poor if we discriminate against them.

  19. Den
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    An excellent approach and a super idea re the elimination of low but costly tariffs.
    However. with Mrs May and her unelected sidekick, Oily Robbins now running the show I doubt any of it will be seriously considered. What a loss to Britain and to British industry that will be.

  20. Mark B
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    There isn’t one. Just like those mythic trade deals he said everybody wanted post referendum. He never said that the UK cannot negotiate such until we leave.

    All these so called Leavers are just soft Remainers in disguise. Pittyful.

  21. Iain Gill
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Whats our tariff on Scallops caught by French fishermen who have been violent towards British fishermen?

    Do tell

  22. ralphmalph
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    They are on the Gov website.


    Reply I am after the amended schedule for post leaving the EU, as explained in the text.

    • David Price
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      The tariffs in that document are all stated in Euros not GBP …

    • ralphmalph
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I believe this is the Schedule for post leaving the EU. The cover letter that accompanies it this tariffs and quotas are as a consequence of the UK leaving the EU.

      Also in the schedule there is a split of the quotas that the UK is saying we will accept. The cover letter outlines that these quotas have been calculated by taking our percentage share of the total EU quota over a three year period.


      Reply I am pressing for a better schedule as the blog makes clear, not a scissors and paste job on the current EU schedule!

  23. Andy
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Tariffs, tariffs, tariffs. Brexiteers bang on about tariffs as if they matter. Usually they don’t.

    What does matter is non-tariff barriers. Dr Fox is erecting these as part of his Brexit.

    NTBs make trade slower and more bureaucratic and, consequently, put prices up for your constituents.

    Reply Try catching up with the WTO which bans new NTBs

    • Andy
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The WTO does not ban you from having whatever regulations you choose.

      And it is differing regulations – laws – which cause the biggest barrier to trade.

      Brexit, apparently, is all about Tories taking back control of regulations.

      But you ccannot change these laws without creating trade barriers.

      And if you do not change the laws we are lumbered with rules over which we have no say.

      You have yet to square this circle.

      Reply You can choose better rules for the world market. The problem is the EU requires us to have their rules for our domestic trade and our exports to non EU countries when there might be better ones.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        “And it is differing regulations – laws – which cause the biggest barrier to trade.”

        How many times do you have to be told that according to the EU’s own estimates, including that in a 2012 report issued by Michel Barnier, the creation of its Single Market has made a paltry one-off addition of about 2% to the collective GDP of its member states, and that for the UK that gross gain is more like half that average, about 1%, and that moreover the EU itself has said that the costs of the Single Market exceed its benefits?

        So the removal of some non-tariff impediments to trade by the uniform regulation of the Single Market has had only a marginal positive effect on GDP, while the costs of applying that uniform regulation have more than swallowed up the benefit leaving us with a small negative impact.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        I’ve told you this before but you don’t seem to have grasped the concept.
        If you want to sell into any export market you have to provide goods which meet all the requirements of that marketplace wherever it is in the world..
        There are many different requirements even within the EU
        For example lighting and plumbing varies if you export to say Germany compared to Greece or Spain.
        Manufacturers manage these variations in every export market every day and have been doing this for decades.
        But do remember over 90% of UK companies do not export to the EU

      • libertarian
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink


        Right now as you’ve been told many times Germany operates non tariff regulations and barriers in certain areas of services.. Do go and speak to people that actually trade rather than get all your propaganda from Facebook

      • Andy
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Their rules are our rules. And Brexiteers have always been very opaque about which of our rules you want to scrap. We hear that some of these rules are burdensome to business.

        By far the most expensive rules concern rights for workers, for consumers, environmental protections and safety.

        Which of my rights are you planning on taking away?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Your right to vote would be a good start, then move on to your right to even stay in the country when your primary loyalty lies elsewhere …

        • Edward2
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          Nearly all those workers rights were law here before the EU became the EU
          Holiday pay maternity pay slick pay contracts of employment unfair dismissal and so on.
          Same with consumer rights, the first contract laws and sale of goods acts came in over 100 years ago.
          The UK led on Clean Air Acts in the 1960s and the Environment Protection Act in the 1980s
          And the Climate Change Act which is far more extensive and challenging than the laws the rest of the world has.

        • NickC
          Posted September 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Andy, I suggest you watch the opening sequences of “Brexit – the Movie”: the sheer quantity of EU rules listed is enlightening. And no, EU rules are neither perfect, nor absolute, nor even necessary in some cases.

          It’s quite funny watching you twist and turn as you attempt to excuse the EU Commission which has the sole right to make new law, and is not voted in, and cannot be voted out. You don’t even seem to realise that many EU rules arise out of naked Corporatist lobbying in Brussels.

        • libertarian
          Posted September 10, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink


          You do know that some EU countries still dont have a minimum wage right. You do know that in the UK the Unions and the Labour party have been fighting for workers rights for 100 years. What is it with remainer youth who think the world began in 1993

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure I remember David Cameron and George Osborne and other Remainers including Theresa May herself “banging on about tariffs” before the referendum … here’s one of her speeches, delivered to an audience at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers on April 25th 2016:


      “With no agreement, we know that WTO rules would oblige the EU to charge 10% tariffs on UK car exports, in line with the tariffs they impose on Japan and the United States. They would be required to do the same for all other goods upon which they impose tariffs. Not all of these tariffs are as high as 10%, but some are considerably higher.”

      Well, she was right that not all of the EU’s tariffs are as high as 10%, because while it’s not straightforward to calculate the average tariff our exports to the EU would face without any special or preferential trade deal it could be 1 – 2%, which is an order of magnitude lower than when we joined the EEC.

      On the graph on page 7 of this House of Commons Library Report:


      in 2011 the trade-weighted average of the EU’s MFN tariff was just over 1%.

      Putting that in the context of our whole economy, our exports to the EU, goods and services, comprise about 12% of our GDP, so the tariffs levied on the goods would be equivalent to less than 0.2% of our GDP.

      While of course what she forgot to mention is that when it comes to trade in cars with the EU we run a massive deficit, and a 10% tariff on imports of cars from the EU would actually be to the advantage of our manufacturers.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Are you suggesting the EU will play up and try to illegally effect non tariff barriers on the UK Andy?
      You keep telling us what super nice people they are so that cannot possibly happen?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Immigration drives down wages and pushes up costs.

      At least we may not have the over crowding and building on our beautiful land.

      A 5000 house estate for Beaconsfield please, and no choice of the quality of people moving into it either.

    • David Price
      Posted September 8, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      @Andy The fact remains that the EU increased tariffs on oranges in October 2016 from 3.2% to 16% because the Spanish orange growers objected to lower tariffs on South African fruit. This impacts the poor in the UK much more than the well off despite us not having any orange growers here.

      Tariffs do matter as well as NTBs but what matters more is that control of tariffs and NTBs is out of our hands, it is controlled by the EU and it’s euphilic supporters in the UK.

      We need to regain control.

  24. Nigel Seymour
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    J, Well done – you are starting to sound like Prof Patrick Minford!

  25. forthurst
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    There is also the issue of animal husbandry where worse conditions for the animals on the continent achieve lower production costs e.g. Danish pork; we need to protect our standards by increasing the tariffs to compensate for their advantage achieved at the expense of animal cruelty; if it means higher food costs for some items, then so be it.

    • lojolondon
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      This has nothing to do with tariffs. If animals are raised in humane conditions, the meat should be imported to the UK at the standard import tariff. If not, it should be blocked on the stipulated grounds.

      • forthurst
        Posted September 7, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Are our standards of animal husbandry recognised internationally; if not, we could lay ourselves open to a case brought before the WTO for illegally blocking imports.

  26. Peter
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    “I am writing to Liam Fox at the Department for International Trade to ask to see the UK’s proposed tariff schedules for trading with the world after March 29 2019, assuming we leave without an agreement with the EU.”

    Good luck. Government is not proactive. That is one reason why we are on the back foot.

    Barnier is doing fine. All he has to do is say ‘Non’ like a poor man’s General de Gaulle. Our politicians squabble and bicker and consort with the other side so that there is no progress.

    I expect Fox civil servants will fob you off with a form of words that leaves you none the wiser.

    You will have made your point nonetheless.

  27. LTaylor
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    As Agricola remarks I would imagine that we will just use the GATT tariff schedules, the only difference being the EU goods will become in effect T1 status and not T2 as they are now.

  28. lojolondon
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, of course we should entirely remove all tariffs on all produce not created in the UK – like oranges, bananas and every kind of sub-tropical produce.
    Unless in exceptional circumstances, locally produced items should receive lower levels of protection that they have until now, as local producers will already have a massive advantage in not needing to meet import requirements and not needing to ship, etc.

    Lastly, I want to point out the fantastic benefit of this development, NEVER mentioned by any REMAINer : that import duties will come direct to the UK treasury, so every Briton will benefit from the funds raised. Under the current system, for example, an Italian person could benefit from a road created with funds raised from British people paying import duties for an Orange purchased from South Africa.

  29. Atlas
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Keep up the incisive questioning John, otherwise May will truly palm us off with her BRINO…

  30. JustGetOnWithBrexit
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I feel completely, absolutely and thoroughly, reassured to hear from my MP Jeremy Hunt concerning the Chequers’ Deal:-

    “I am afraid I do strongly believe that the Prime Minister’s proposals represent a realistic and practical vision that delivers the referendum decision in full.

    It meets the UK’s red lines – leaving the EU, including the Single Market and the Customs Union on 29 March 2019.
    As we leave the EU, free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will no longer apply and the days of sending vast sums of money to Brussels every year are over for good.
    We will also leave the Common Agriculture Policy and the Commons Fisheries Policy and we will once again be able to strike our own trade deals”.

    I am now convinced there must be another ‘Secret Chequer’s Deal’, still under wraps, and not yet revealed…evidently, there must be another secret plan, because the comments above, do not describe the Chequers’ Deal we have all been told about.

    • NickC
      Posted September 8, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      JustGetOnWithBrexit, The ever entertaining Jeremy Hunt. Perhaps you can send him actual quotes from the Robbins (Chequers) White Paper executive summary which directly contradict the outcomes that Mr Hunt imagines.

      On customs: “… a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement …. between the UK and the EU as if they were a combined customs territory …”. So we leave the existing multilateral CU (so Mr Hunt is correct there), but sign up to a new bi-lateral CU with exactly the same effect (directly contrary to Mr Hunt’s claimed outcome).

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I recollect this comment that you published in July, JR:


    in which I suggested that you might write about:

    “a) The kind of transit arrangements mentioned by jerry with this link:


    It seems totally pointless to have a complicated arrangement for the UK to collect EU customs duties on behalf of the EU when goods destined for the EU arrive in the UK but only en route to an EU destination, if they could just be sealed and sent on their way for EU duties to be applied when they arrive in the EU … ”

    and today I read that the Irish are now suggesting something like that:


    “Ireland is discussing a special Brexit deal to keep using the UK as a “land bridge” for goods in transit to Dublin without border checks. Carol-Ann O’Keeffe, a senior Irish tax official, explained at a British and Irish Chambers of Commerce conference in Dublin on Thursday that goods from the continent could undergo checks in France, containers could then be sealed and given free passage to Dublin, the Guardian reported.”

    And also:

    “b) Whether in this day and age it is even worth collecting low level customs duties as a pitiably small source of state revenue but with disproportionately high compliance costs which must act as an unnecessary drag on trade and economic development.

    Are we really going to expect importers to bear compliance costs of up to £20 billion a year to collect customs duties on goods imported from the EU which could amount to as little as £3 billion? And much the same for the EU, for that matter.”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I would just add here that the great reductions in tariffs worldwide over past decades must be one main reason why most new free trade deals are now yielding only very marginal economic gains. For example it may sound good that CETA will eliminate 98% plus of all tariffs – and some non-tariff barriers as well – but nonetheless it is projected to give Canadian GDP a one-off lift of a low fraction of a percentage point, while for the EU the lift is projected to be vanishingly small.

      This is why I find it puzzling that David Davis and others wish to go begging the EU for a similar kind of low value deal when the EU is bound to demand concessions and in any case there is now little time left for negotiating it.

      The UK does not have to negotiate the WTO treaties with the EU because they have already been negotiated and already exist and are already in force, and the UK and the EU and all the other EU member states are already parties to them.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 8, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Just to firm this up a little, I find that Canada exports about 3% of its GDP to the EU, while the UK exports about 12% of its GDP to the EU; therefore on a simple pro rata basis if CETA boosts Canada’s exports to the EU by the equivalent of 0.18% to 0.36 % of its GDP, as the EU Commission projects, then for the UK the same kind of special trade deal with the EU might be worth 0.7% to 1.4% of UK GDP.

        Which is in the same ball park as the gross one-off economic gain we are likely to have made from participation in the EU Single Market, much less than the 8% of GDP that the Treasury claims.

        By a similar calculation, again relying on the EU’s projections, I find that we might regain 0.9% to 1.7% of GDP over the WTO baseline if we had a special trade deal with the EU like the EU-US trade deal, TTIP.

        Which is much less than Liam Fox implied last Sunday, page 5 here:


        “… if WTO trading terms were so advantageous we wouldn’t be looking for a new trade agreement with the United States that goes beyond WTO … ”

        Well, TTIP may go beyond WTO, and the same with CETA, but because the average tariffs are already so low they only do so in a pretty marginal way, and especially considering the inordinate time and effort that was needed for negotiating and agreeing them.

    • John Barleycorn
      Posted September 10, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      June 2018 import/export figures are £20 billion per month inward and £14 billion outward between the UK and the EU (HMRC uktradeinfo). A compliance cost of £20 billion per year would then be about 5% of the flow, which may or may not be similar to the amount raised in tariffs depending what the UK/EU/WTO agree on.

      Reply There is no such cost in sight!

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting fed up with this sort of thing:


    “Influential MEP Danuta Hubner says EU is open to suggestions on avoiding hard border”

    “EU and UK negotiators are locked in a political stalemate over agreement on the so-called backstop that would guarantee an open border in Ireland in the event of no deal on future EU-UK trade.

    “If UK has a better proposal for the backstop, we are open to discuss these things. In a sense, there is openness. It just all depends on whether there is also an openness on the UK side,” she said.

    The British were offering no solution to maintain an open border in Ireland while London was still sticking with its “red lines” of leaving the EU single market and customs union, she said.”

    Which is true, all we hear from Theresa May and Dominic Raab and other government figures is that they are still confident that there will be a deal and this “problem” will be sorted out as part of our future relationship with the EU, when for the best part of a year now they should have been saying:

    a) Whatever happens, whatever the deal or even if there is no deal, we will definitely not making any changes at all on our side of the border; and

    b) We are prepared to help the EU protect the integrity of its Single Market by introducing legal controls over the exports taken across the border.

    Why will Theresa May not even consider these suggestions? Is it because really she would like to wangle it so that the whole of the UK was in a customs union with the EU and stuck with the EU’s Single Market rule book?

  33. getahead
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Superb John. More power to yous elbow.

  • 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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