UK post-Brexit trade plan cuts tariffs but highlights EU risks

Press quote (Bloomberg)
19 May 2020

An advantage of the U.K.’s announcement is that it helps its ongoing trade negotiations with the EU, the U.S and Japan, because it makes clear what the default duties would be if no agreement is reached in these talks, according to Sam Lowe, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.

Britain’s plan also marks a walk-back from the temporary tariff schedule it proposed in the event of a no-deal Brexit last year, which would have seen 87% of U.K. imports made tariff-free. That proposal was criticized for giving away too much British leverage in future trade talks.

“It seems to me that those in government who wanted to retain tariffs for the purpose of future trade negotiations won the argument this time round,” Lowe said.