On May 19, 2020, the United Kingdom (“UK”) announced its new tariff regime, the UK Global Tariff (“UKGT”), which will replace, in the UK, the Common Customs Tariff of the European Union (“EU”) as from January 1, 2021. The UKGT will apply to trade with all countries with which the UK has not concluded or rolled over a free trade agreement, including possibly the EU.

In the absence of an agreement between the EU and the UK as regards to their future trade relationship, trade between both sides of the Channel will become subject to significant friction, through the reintroduction of customs formalities and—in most cases—import tariffs at the level of this UKGT. This will increase rather substantially the cost of trade between the EU and the UK. However, for exports from other countries to the UK, depending on the sector of industry or the products concerned, the cost of trade may decrease as the UK import tariffs have decreased. Overall, however, the UK tariffs, as now disclosed, have decreased less than originally contemplated.

This Legal Update provides a detailed overview of the changes proposed by the UKGT and the opportunities it may create for non-EU exporters.
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