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Food: Import Duties

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN HL14401, tabled on 11 March 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the tariffs they intend to impose on food imports after Brexit.

Answered on

25 March 2019

The Government published details of tariffs the UK intends to apply to food imports in the event of a ‘no-deal’ EU Exit on Wednesday 13 March. These details can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/temporary-rates-of-customs-duty-on-imports-after-eu-exit.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will implement this temporary tariff regime for up to 12 months whilst a full consultation and review on a permanent approach is undertaken. This regime will apply a tariff rate of zero to most imports into the UK whilst retaining the UK’s ability to raise these rates to a higher ‘bound’ rate if necessary.

If the UK had chosen to apply its current external tariff regime to the EU this would impose new tariffs on EU imports, driving up prices for consumers and disrupting business supply chains.

If the UK chose to apply zero tariffs on all goods traded with the EU, then the UK would have to extend this to the rest of the world due to WTO rules. This would minimise disruption to EU trade but would open the UK to competition from other countries outside of the EU, including those with unfair trading practices.

The temporary tariff regime adopts a balanced position between these two options. It will minimise costs to UK businesses whilst mitigating the impact of price increases on UK consumers.

This temporary tariff regime will come into effect at the timethe UK leaves the EU without a deal.

In the event of a deal being secured the UK will continue to apply the EU’s Common External Tariff during any implementation period. No decision on post-implementation period tariff rates has been made at this time.