On 20 May 2021, the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that UK firms will be given further help to become more globally competitive in a new scheme to suspend tariffs on certain imports. The announcement said:
It will allow companies that use imports to ask for duties on them to be partially or wholly withdrawn for a set period, lowering production costs.
During the UK’s membership of the EU, firms had to submit applications to the bloc to request suspensions, which then had to be assessed by all member states.
As an independent trading nation, the UK government has established its own tariff regime, and has the power to decide how the duties it contains should be applied.
From next month, firms based in the UK or Crown Dependencies will be able to apply for duties on goods they import to be temporarily reduced or withdrawn. Once a suspension has been introduced, all UK importers will be able to benefit from the reduced rate.
The new scheme will allocate suspensions based on the needs of firms in the UK and the wider economy, on any import that satisfies the selection criteria set out on GOV.UK.
In recognition of the challenges surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, existing duty suspensions that the government rolled over from the EU will be extended beyond 31 December 2021 to ensure business certainty.
Businesses will be able to apply from June 1 and the suspensions are expected to apply from early 2022. The application form can be found here.