No change for fruit and veg import tariffs

No-deal still on the cards despite vote against it

Last night the House of Commons voted against a no-deal Brexit by a small majority of 43 votes. On Tuesday the parliament voted against the adjusted deal May had concluded with the EU on the withdrawal. There now seem to be two options for May: vote a third time on the deal or ask the EU for a postponement.

Still chance of no deal scenario
Despite the outcome of yesterday's vote, a no-deal scenario is still needs to be taken into account, because if the United Kingdom wants to postponement, all 27 member states will have to agree.

Chaos
According to the UK newspapers there is chaos in Britain because May eventually voted against her own motion and a number of party members abstained from the vote. May has completely lost control and The Guardian calls it a complete humiliation. A number of Lower House members of the conservative party are calling on colleagues to submit their resignations.

Today there will be a vote on whether the United Kingdom wants to postpone the Brexit until after March 29. However, if Brexit is postponed, the country will have to participate in the European elections in May. This is not something that Brussels or London would choose to do.

"It will be a circus"
May is willing to request a postponement until June 30, unless a deal comes through parliament. According to Dutch news, NOS, the prime minister is trying to take advantage of the chaos. "If there is no prospect of a deal before March 21, the EU will probably take the lead. This means that a deal must be voted on twice before a deal is voted off twice. It will be a circus here."

Temporary Tariff Regime
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the British government will lift almost all import duties for countries outside the EU. Currently, 80 percent of imports are already imported without taxes, but after the no deal Brexit this will be around 92 percent.

For countries within the EU, with a no-deal Brexit there will be import duties on a few things including bananas (from some sources), meat and fish.

If it is a no-deal Brexit the no tariff rule will cover all fresh produce imports from the EU, leaving things just as they are at the moment. Third countries out-with the EU may benefit from no tariffs, but this will not have a big impact on UK production as most of the imported products are counter season, although it may become challenging in the transition periods.

Nigel Jenney, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium has been working with FPC members and Government officials for months to clarify what would happen in a no-deal situation and this has lead to the publishing of a comprehensive importers guide a in a no-deal Brexit

“I would like to clarify that regardless of what happens we have made the no-deal position clear and the UK remains open to world trade for UK importers and exporters around the world.”

For more information on how to obtain the guide please contact Nigel at nigel@freshproduce.org.uk 

National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters said it was a relief to finally see the import tariffs that would be applied (on some agricultural products) if the UK crashes out of the European Union without a deal.

But she said it was “appalling” that the Government was only publishing them a fortnight before they could come into effect, leaving farmers and food businesses no time to prepare.

Problems will be exacerbated by the fact that the agricultural sector will face tariffs on exports to the EU and other countries with whom the UK enjoys free trade agreements, she warned.

Irish border
The UK will not introduce any new checks or controls on goods moving across the land border into Northern Ireland if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.

Under a temporary and unilateral regime announced by the British government, EU goods arriving from the Republic and remaining in Northern Ireland will not be subject to tariffs.

However, tariffs will be payable on goods moving from the EU into the rest of the UK via Northern Ireland under a schedule of rates also released this morning.

The British government insists that this will not create a border down the Irish Sea, as there will be no checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and Britain.

Instead, normal compliance and intelligence methods will be used to detect any traders attempting to abuse the system.

Dutch company LTO response to communication agencies regarding Brexit
In the run-up to the Brexit, LTO is receiving signals that communication between implementing agencies in the United Kingdom and the European Union is sometimes not optimal. For example, it is unclear what the arrangements will be on both sides of the Channel Tunnel. The British want to carry out inspections at the receiving company and not at the border at Dover. The French authorities want to inspect the Calais border.

LTO advises entrepreneurs who export to make clear agreements with their carriers and customers about who is responsible for what. It is important to check and share available information. Websites such as www.brexitloket.nl  and www.getreadyforbrexit.eu are of service here. On the British side, www.gov.uk/euexit  is a good home page.


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