The possibility of a chaotic ‘no deal’ Brexit is looming large for the United Kingdom as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to get the deal through the Parliament. It seems the government is already preparing for the worst. According to a report by the BBC, the UK government will cut tariffs significantly for a majority of goods if the nation exits the European Union without a deal in place.
It could prove to be a bit of a catastrophe for local businesses in the country, but at the same time, the country faces a ruinous trade environment if a deal is not pushed through by 29th March. However, it should be noted that there is speculation that the deadline is going to be extended if a deal is not agreed on time. It is being reported that around 80% to 90% of goods that are imported into the country could be the beneficiaries of the said trade tariff cuts. However, some industries in the UK like textiles, dairy and car parts among others are protected, and such goods are not going to be included in this initiative.
The Business Secretary of the UK Greg Clark stated that the tariff rates are set to be published, but it will only be done after PM May’s Brexit deal vote has been concluded at the House of Commons. He also spoke about some specific industries that could benefit from these tariff cuts and singled out the ceramics industry. Speaking on a radio programme, Clark said, “We have been consulting with different industry sectors on this. It has big implications for different sectors. Ceramics is an industry that I know very well. It has been subject to very unfair competition, to the dumping of very cheap ceramic exports from the Far East, from China.” He went on to add that the tariff rates have been finalised with a no deal Brexit in mind and the goal behind the new rates is to protect the interests of businesses as well as consumers.
The economics correspondent at BBC, Dharshini David said, “While areas such as farming would benefit from the protection of tariffs, dropping them elsewhere would leave other UK businesses disadvantaged relative to their European competitors. That may weigh on politicians’ minds, as the Prime Minister tries to rustle up last-minute support for her deal.” She went on to add that it would be a highly courageous move from the government to slash import tariffs and would signal to the world that the UK remains friendly to businesses despite a no deal Brexit.