UK seeks big tariff reductions in US trade deal

Britain's Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said Britain is seeking far-reaching reductions in tariffs from a trade deal with the US. — Reuters pic
Britain's Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said Britain is seeking far-reaching reductions in tariffs from a trade deal with the US. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Feb 6 — Britain is seeking far-reaching reductions in tariffs from a trade deal with the United States, trade minister Liz Truss said today, setting out the broad aims of her post-Brexit push to secure new free trade agreements.

Britain plans to begin negotiating deals with the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months, alongside talks on an agreement over its future relationship with the European Union.

“We will drive a hard bargain and, as with all negotiations, we will be prepared to walk away if that is in the national interest,” Truss said in a statement to parliament.

Truss said a planned trade deal with the United States would “secure comprehensive, far-reaching and mutually beneficial tariff reductions... which will increase access to the US market for UK businesses, and lower prices and increase choice for UK consumers.”

Britain will not compromise on its high animal welfare and food standards and the price the National Health Service pays for drugs will not be on the table in trade talks, Truss said.

Earlier today, Britain also said it planned to develop a new tariff schedule which will enter into force at the start of 2021 and will apply to goods from countries around the world where no other trade arrangements are in place.

It has launched a four-week consultation to help shape its new most favoured nation tariff regime, which will be known as the UK Global Tariff. This could include simplifying tariffs and removing tariffs completely on goods where Britain has no or limited domestic production, it said.

The UK Global Tariff will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff which is currently applied to imports into Britain.

“It is vitally important that we now move away from complex tariff schedule imposed on us by the European Union,” Truss said, adding that special arrangements would apply to goods entering Northern Ireland.

The government also said it would also begin reviewing 43 EU trade remedy measures which were considered important to British industries, including anti-dumping duties of up to 36.1 per cent on imports of ceramic kitchen and tablewhere from China. — Reuters

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