Trade remedies measures to protect UK businesses and cut prices

Economy & Politics | Legal | South East

British businesses will continue to be protected from unfair trading practices, and dozens of unnecessary taxes on everyday products will be axed after the UK leaves the European Union.

The government has today published the trade remedies measures that will be continued as the UK takes control of its independent trade policy for the first time in more than 40 years.

Importantly, these measures will continue to apply at the end of the implementation period or from 29 March if we leave the EU without an agreement.

In total, 43 trade remedies measures that currently apply to imports from outside the EU will be transitioned into UK law after we leave.

This will see the UK continuing to apply higher tariffs to imports that have been deemed to be traded unfairly and risk disadvantaging British businesses.

The measures will protect important industries and safeguard jobs from the risk of low-cost imports at below fair market rates, including in the steel and ceramics industries.

British businesses will continue to be protected from cheap imports that are deemed to have been traded unfairly such as tyres and aluminium wheels from China; ceramic tiles, tableware and kitchenware from China; and a range of steel and iron products from countries including Belarus, Brazil, China, Iran, Russia and the USA.

A further 66 EU measures will not apply to the UK after we leave the EU. These measures were originally designed to protect EU producers from unfair competition, but they do not significantly benefit British industries and only increase costs for consumers.

Consumers can expect to benefit from cheaper imports on the following tariffs 10% tariff on sweetcorn from Thailand; a 42p per kilogram tariff on tinned mandarins from China; and 34% on imports of solar glass, which is used to produce solar panels, from China.

The decision follows an open and transparent review on whether specific measures should be applied to the UK. This included a public consultation to gather views from UK businesses and members of the public.

EU trade remedies measures are only being continued in cases where UK business supported the measure and where British businesses produce more than a 1% market share of those particular products sold in the UK.

This is in line with our obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization and is in the national economic interest of the whole of the UK. It will ensure that major British industries that have a large market can continue to thrive.

International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP said: “We have previously set out in our Trade White paper the government’s commitment to maintain all relevant EU trade remedy measures, helping to protect UK businesses from unfair trading practices while cutting unnecessary import taxes.

“Today’s announcement will allow British industries to compete on a level playing field with their international competitors after we leave the EU. This is an important part of our new independent trade policy and it underlines our commitment to free trade and to ensuring the integrity of the global rules-based trading system.

“The decision on whether to maintain measures was based on whether those measures mattered to the UK. We are scrapping measures that don’t significantly benefit British businesses and this will see savings for people throughout the country.”

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