UK announces updated external tariff schedule

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Today the UK Most Favoured Nation tariff schedule was announced by government. Named ‘The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) this will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Transition Period. 

The government has largely maintained tariffs on agricultural goods, with a conversion from Euro to GBP taking place in most instances. However, a number of tariff lines have been ‘streamlined and simplified’ which in most cases has resulted in a rounding down of tariff rates. There are a smaller number of tariff lines which have been completely liberalised. In additional, the UK also intends to remove the EU Meursing table, which acts as an additional barrier for certain processed products, depending on their sugar and dairy content. Its current aim in the EU is to ensure there is a mechanism in place so that processed products, such as biscuits, waffles, pizzas and other confectionary items, aren’t able to by-pass tariff rates that are levied on bulk or raw materials.

Some will view this as adding clarity, improving simplicity for importers, and prepping for upcoming trade deals, others may point to simplification of tariffs (removal of Meursing, rounding down) as lowering existing barriers.

AHDB will be analysing in detail the information on the implications of the new UKGT on an ongoing basis.

The UK has today also published their draft negotiating documents for negotiations with the EU. There have been 12 legal documents published, the main document being the draft UK-EU Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. A number of supporting documents about specific issues surrounding the negotiations have also been published, such as a draft text for a fisheries framework agreement.

Tom Forshaw

Senior Analyst - Policy