One of the consequences of Brexit which has, up till now, not been outlined by the UK Government is what Customs tariffs the UK will adopt once it leaves the UK. This is of great importance to businesses bringing in goods to the UK as it will have an impact on the final cost of purchasing goods.

A Customs tariff is applied to the Customs value of goods on entry to the UK (currently from outside the EU) and then Import VAT is applied to this final value. Currently, no Customs tariffs are applied to goods being acquired from the EU.

In the last few days the Government has published a customs tariff for the UK to use in the event of a no deal Brexit. Given the time scales, the tariffs that have been announced are a temporary measure with duty rates on a large number of products being at 0%.

The UK currently uses the European Union common tariff which will become redundant once the UK leaves the EU.

The new UK tariff lists the customs duties that will apply to each type of good entering the UK after the 12th of April if there is no deal. It should be borne in mind that this will apply to all imports to the UK so this will cover goods coming in from the rest of the world and the EU.

In its guidance HMRC has provided information on countries which will be entitled to preferential rates of duty to those shown in the new tariff. This includes developing countries qualifying for the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), and there is also information on bilateral free trade agreements the UK has reached with some countries, including Switzerland, Chile and Israel.

As mentioned above, the tariff is a temporary measure in the event of a no deal Brexit and it is expected that a more detailed tariff will be developed in the 12 months following Brexit.

Although approximately 87% of goods will be subject to a 0% rate, some products will be subject to a duty rate. This is mainly in the automotive and food sector and the tariffs mirror existing EU rates. For example, motor cars will still be subject to a 10% rate of duty.

This development is another issue that businesses should be considering if the UK leaves the EU on 12 April. As previously advised we recommend that businesses apply for an EORI number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) which is a requirement on Customs documentation and other procedures such as inward processing relief and warehousing.

Businesses also have the option to use transitional simplified procedures (TSP) to declare their goods to Customs. This will allow importers to defer making a full declaration and paying customs duty until after the goods arrive in the UK. Applications to register for the TSP scheme can be submitted online. Applicants must hold an EORI number and apply to defer payment of import duties, which requires a financial guarantee to be in place by 30 June 2019.