UK extends tariff breaks to developing world

The UK is to introduce a new system that will cut or even abolish import tariffs on hundreds of products from 65 developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

trade tariff uk
The Developing Countries Trading Scheme, which will come into force at the start of 2023, substantially increases the import tax breaks developing nations already enjoy under the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

UK ministers hope that, by offering extensive concessions to exports from the developing world, it will in turn provide a boost to Britain's own trade opportunities across the globe.

According to the Department for International Trade in London, the new scheme was part of a wider campaign by the UK to use trade to "drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty", as well as reduce dependency on aid.

The department said the scheme fundamentally extended the thousands of products that developing nations can already export to the UK without tariffs and will affect around 99% of goods imported from Africa.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "As an independent trading nation, we are taking back control of our trade policy and making decisions that back UK businesses, help with the cost of living, and support the economies of developing countries around the world.

"UK businesses can look forward to less red-tape and lower costs, incentivising firms to import goods from developing countries."

Under the scheme, exports to the UK on products ranging from clothes and shoes to oil and vegetables, will benefit from low or even zero tariffs. There will also be a simplification of red tape, including the 'rules of origin' measures.

Marco Forgione, director-general of the Institute of Export & International Trade in London, welcomed the move, saying: “International trade has a key role to play in lifting people out of poverty, transforming communities and increasing sustainability. The UK’s new tariffs regime is an important step in achieving these goals.

“As well as reducing duties, non-tariff barriers also need to be addressed. That’s why we continue to work closely with governments and trade organisations both home and abroad to look at ways to facilitate easier trade and improve skills.

“Using technology to modernise borders and implement trusted trader schemes is the key next step in improving trade in and with developing countries."

Countries coming under the LDC framework are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cambodia, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.
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