United Kingdom no-deal Brexit tariffs a ‘potential disaster’ for Irish farming

Marco Green
March 14, 2019

The government said its measures should avert a £9bn hit to consumers and businesses if the United Kingdom crashes out of the European Union without a deal on 29 March, which is expected to hurt the value of sterling.

ING economist James Smith told Euronews that a new United Kingdom tariff regime would have to be offset against the likely cost from a fall in the pound and market turmoil, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The government has announced temporary tariffs on bicycles of zero, should the United Kingdom leave the European Union with a "no-deal Brexit".

Goods crossing the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland would not be covered by the new import tariff regime, posing a challenge for British authorities to stop importers from using Northern Ireland as a backdoor route to avoid British tariffs.

United Kingdom tariffs imposed on goods from Ireland would "drive down prices and hit producers" in Northern Ireland, it warned.

Under the government's plan for a no-deal Brexit, 87 percent of total imports into the United Kingdom would qualify for zero tariffs - up from 80 percent now.

Sterling climbed from yesterday's one per cent drop from $1.309 against the dollar this morning to $1.315 as markets expected the United Kingdom to push towards ruling out no-deal and instead seek a Brexit delay in a vote due tomorrow.

It said: "To prevent unfair treatment of Northern Ireland businesses, goods arriving from Ireland would still be subject to the same VAT and Excise duty as today and the and the United Kingdom government would continue to collect these taxes on Irish goods in future". VAT registered businesses would continue to account for VAT on their normal VAT returns.

But Britain's new quotas have been calculated as a proportion of the current EU-wide quotas for Australian meat exports - an arrangement that the Morrison Government has been strongly contesting at the World Trade Organsation in Geneva, on the grounds that the quota split doesn't accurately reflect long-term patterns of trade. Zero tariffs will also help protect developing nations selling goods to Britain.

Ministers have only reached agreement with a handful of countries - including the Faroe Islands, Switzerland and Israel - to continue with the same trade deals the United Kingdom now has access to under European Union membership.

There will be new United Kingdom import requirements such as document checks and registration for a small number of goods such as endangered species and hazardous chemicals which are subject to global agreements. However, there would be no checks between Northern Ireland and Britain. Notably, the documents are in draft form, so there may yet be changes from UK Gov.

"We also recognise that there are challenges and risks for maintaining control of our borders, monitoring the flow of goods into the United Kingdom, and the challenge posed by organised criminals seeking to exploit any new system".

'But we will do all we can to support people and businesses across Northern Ireland in the event that we leave without a deal. The measures announced today recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

"It is a temporary measure, this is for a short term while we engage with business and we see what the real term consequences are", he told BBC radio.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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