Urgent question on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit

07 October 2019

Mr Chris Leslie MP, asked an urgent question on the final schedule of tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit to the Minister of State (Department for International Trade), Conor Burns.

While in the European Union, businesses in the UK can import and export goods within the EU without customs duties. With Brexit set to happen on 31 October 2019, this could change. Mr Chris Leslie MP asked the Government when the schedule of these tariffs would be published.

Conor Burns MP, The Minister of State (Department for International Trade), told MPs that although some tariffs had been agreed with countries outside the EU, the Government could not release the final tariffs at this moment. He stated that: 

"During the Article 50 extension the Government has remained responsive to the concerns of business and has reviewed the tariffs that will come into effect if the UK left the EU without a deal. The Government will publish, to answer the Honourable Gentleman, the final tariffs shortly. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on any amendments to being considered prior to that announcement. [...] The Government will ensure that Parliament is informed as soon as practically possible once a final decision has been made."

Responding to the Minister, Mr Chris Leslie MP emphasised the limited time left before the Brexit deadline, with particular emphasis paid to how businesses are meant to adapt to possible changes in tariffs. The MP said,

"Doesn't it beggar belief that the Government  have still not got round yet to publishing that final schedule of import tariffs for that eventuality? [...] The consequences of so many sectors of our economy – farming, manufacturing, engineering – are massive. So can I ask the Minister: how are businesses supposed to get ready, as the £100-million advertising campaign suggests, if ministers still can't tell us the tariffs to be imposed, and seem to be incapable of even the most basic, competent level of preparation?"

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