Low tariffs post-Brexit – just the FTA’s cup of tea

27 / 06 / 2017

The British government’s commitment to securing existing duty free access to UK markets for 48 of the world’s developing nations will ensure that the nation's manufacturers and retailers can continue to trade efficiently and profitably, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA). 

The association, which represents the freight and logistics sector in the UK, said that these agreements should ensure that the price of household items, "ranging from textiles to tea," can be maintained at levels prior to the departure of Britain from the European Union (EU), commonly referred to as Brexit.

The FTA, which has been lobbying the government to maintain low tariffs on goods from emerging trading countries since the EU referendum decision, has declared the government’s statement is "good news for business, and a victory for the opinions of the freight and logistics sector".

Alex Veitch, the FTA's head of global policy, said: “For the past year, the FTA has been one of the leading voices to support the retention of low tariffs on goods from developing countries.

“This announcement vindicates the hard work which we have put in on behalf of our British Shippers’ Council members, who represent some of the biggest names on the UK high street. 

Veitch added: “Imports of many of our staple household items, which reach our shores in bulk shipments from around the globe, currently benefit from reduced or zero tariff agreements. 

"These keep prices stable, both for retailers and for manufacturers – a key requirement when other areas of the economy are currently more volatile. FTA lobbying of government has been relentless in the past year on behalf of the members of the British Shippers’ Council, to ensure that their opinions have been considered, and we look forward to working with the Department for International Trade in the coming months to ensure that the nation’s shopping basket continues to be as affordable as possible.”

Since the EU referendum announcement in June 2016, when the UK voted to leave the European trading bloc, the FTA has met representatives from the Department for International Trade on three occasions to discuss the priorities of the logistics sector. 

Continued Veitch: “The announcement is good news for British retailers, and great for developing countries. Trade policy is set by EU member states, so after Brexit the UK will be free to chart its own course. By committing to a policy of duty-free access to UK markets for these states, the government has stated its intentions to ensure that Britain will keep on trading outside the EU. 

“The government’s intention to deliver improved support to developing countries by helping them break down the barriers to trade is also great news for the economy, and we look forward to contributing to this work through our global network - the Global Shippers’ Forum, which represents international trade associations around the world.”