Government announces most imports tariff-free under no-deal plan

The government has announced that most imports into the UK would not attract a tariff in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Under a temporary scheme 87% of imports by value would be eligible for zero-tariff access.

At the moment 80% of imports are tariff free.

Tariffs would be maintained to protect some industries, including agriculture. Beef, lamb, poultry and some dairy products would receive protection.

A tariff is a tax applied to goods that are traded on international markets.

In the great majority of cases, tariffs are applied to imported goods by the country importing them. But there can also be tariffs on exported goods.

How would the new system work?

The new tariff regime would mark a shift in favour of products from non-EU countries.

It would mean 82% of imports from the EU would be tariff-free, down from 100% now.

92% percent of imports from the rest of the world would pay no border duty, up from 56%.

Under the plan, the UK car industry will receive some protection, with some imported cars attracting tariffs.

But car parts from the EU would be tariff free, which will help car plants in the UK.

Also, the ceramics industry would receive some protection from cheap imports.

Where are the big changes?

Industry bodies and businesses are still poring over the 1,477-page document which outlines the new plan.

Imports of cars from the EU will have a tariff of 10% applied, which would add £1,500 to a typical family car.

Volkswagen has already said the cost would be passed on to the buyer.

Car parts such as engines would have no new tax applied to avoid disruption to the movement of components.

A spokesman for Ford UK warned that the tariffs would “deal a devastating blow to much of the complex and integrated automotive industry, and would damage the competitiveness of Ford’s engine manufacturing in the UK”.

While some tariffs will protect farmers producing meat, other sectors of farming will have low or no tarrifs.

The National Farmers’ Union President, Minette Batters, said that eggs, cereals, fruit and vegetables would not receive any protection under the plans.

The plans would see the current tariff rate on oranges cut from 16% to 0%, the rate for onions down from 9.6% to 0% and the tariff on imported televisions down from 14% to 0%.