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UK announces zero tariffs on 87% of goods – but tariffs may rise on some retail products

The UK government has announced it will cut most import tariffs to zero if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The Department for International Trade announced that UK businesses will not pay tariffs on 87% of goods in the event of a so-called “no-deal Brexit”, which would see the state leaving the union without any agreements in place of the ones it has now.

The 13% of products that will still have tariffs in place include various foodstuffs such as cheese, beef and tuna. Some of these would see their tariffs increase.

In addition, men’s wool jackets and synthetic fibre clothing could also see tariffs rise.

The government announced the measures as parliament prepares to vote on ruling a no-deal Brexit today, after prime minister Theresa May’s EU deal was defeated again in the House of Commons.

The tariffs will be in place for up to 12 months while the government consults consumers and businesses.

The government has created a tool on its website allowing companies to find out whether tariffs will apply.

Pauline Bastidon, the Freight Transport Association’s head of global and European policy, called the announcement “long overdue”.

“The list of origin countries that will benefit from preferential access is also revealing in itself. With only 13 working days left until the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, it is deeply concerning to get confirmation at this late stage that only a minority of EU trade agreements will have been rolled over. This not only represents an additional cost for importers, but is bad news for exporters too as it will limit access to preferential trade deals too. MPs should bear that in mind when asked to consider a no-deal exit later today”.

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