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UK set to impose global trade tariffs from 2021

By Philip Smith

New rules could simplify trading where there is no existing agreement

The UK is set to impose a range of global trade tariffs from January 1, 2021.

The new schedule will apply to goods from countries where there is no trade arrangement in place, the government said.

The UK has been free to strike its own free-trade deals since it left the EU on Friday, January 31. Talks are already at an early stage with the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the EU.

“It is vitally important that we now move away from [the] complex tariff schedule imposed on us by the European Union,” said trade minister Liz Truss in a statement to Parliament. “This is our opportunity to set our own tariff strategy that is right for UK consumers and businesses across our country.

“We will drive a hard bargain and, as with all negotiations, we will be prepared to walk away if that is in the national interest.”

When it comes to trading with nations where there is no such agreement in place, the idea is that the UK will instigate a “most favoured nation” tariff regime, which will be known as the UK Global Tariff. This could include simplifying tariffs and even remove them completely on goods where Britain has no domestic production.

This will ensure UK businesses compete on fair terms with the rest of the world while benefiting households through greater choice and lower prices, said the statement. “Ultimately, this will also help to make it easier to trade, drive up investment, and deliver more quality jobs across the UK,” Truss added.

The UK has launched a four-week consultation to finalise details.

FURTHER READING: Britain to negotiate with Australia for its first wave of post-Brexit trade deals

FURTHER READING: Johnson signals hardline stance ahead of UK-EU trade talks

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