HMT - UK Her Majesty's Treasury

06/05/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2024 02:52

UK Trade Tariff: duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas

Duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas

Duty suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency (Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey) businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending import duties on certain goods, normally those used in domestic production.

These suspensions do not apply to other duties that may be chargeable like VAT or trade remedies duty, such as anti-dumping duty.

Duty suspensions allow unlimited quantities to be imported into the UK at a reduced tariff rate. Autonomous tariff quotas (ATQs) allow limited quantities to be imported at a reduced rate.

Duty suspensions and ATQs are temporary and can be used by any UK business while in force. They are applied on a 'Most Favoured Nation' ('MFN') basis. This means that goods subject to these suspensions or quotas can be imported into the UK from any country or territory at the specified reduced tariff rate.

When more than one tariff concession applies, importers will wish to ensure that their goods are entered at the most advantageous rate.

Read guidance on declaring goods 'not at risk' of moving to the EU if you are importing goods subject to a duty suspension or an ATQ into Northern Ireland.

Current duty suspensions

Find the current duty suspensions and quotas using the Trade Tariff lookup tool.

Duty suspensions for products which previously existed in the UK under the EU suspensions regime have been carried over into the UK's independent regime. They have been retained, provided they came into force before, or as part of, the EU's July 2020 update to ensure continuity for UK businesses.

All current duty suspensions rolled over from the EU regime, including EUATQs changed to duty suspensions, are extended until 31 December 2028.

Apply for a new duty suspension

A general election has been announced for 4 July 2024. This does not affect your ability to apply for tariff suspensions during the 2024 application window or to participate in the consultation on the extension of the 2021 suspensions. Please continue to apply before the window closes at 11:59pm Wednesday 3 July 2024.

Before starting your application, we strongly recommend you read our 2024 Duty Suspensions Application Guidance (PDF, 610 KB, 37 pages).

This document will provide you with information on tariffs and duty suspensions, as well as a step-by-step guide on how best to fill out your application.

This year the government is inviting stakeholders to apply for new suspensions, and in a separate but concurrent process, to provide views on existing suspensions that are due to expire on 31 December 2024.

To apply for a new suspension, please complete the application form for new suspensions.

To provide your views on the extension of an existing suspension that is due to expire on 31 December 2024, please complete the application form for extension of suspensions.

If you have any issues or concerns when completing your application, please contact the Tariff Suspensions Team at [email protected].

How we will assess applications for new suspensions in 2024

Applications need to meet both of the following criteria:

  • the product a suspension is being sought on should not be traded between persons who are related parties (defined in Regulation 8(4) of the Customs Tariff (Suspension of Import Duty Rates) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020) in circumstances which would not enable other United Kingdom businesses to benefit from the suspension.
  • the same product (falling under the same commodity code) or similar products, should not be produced in the UK or Crown Dependencies, not produced in sufficient quantities, or production should be temporarily insufficient.

Products other than raw products are taken to be produced in the UK or a Crown Dependency if they are partly or wholly manufactured in the UK or a Crown Dependency. Simple assembly operations, repacking products, or preparing products for shipment or transportation would not normally be considered production processes.

Applications must meet these criteria. If these criteria are not met, your application will be rejected.

Tariff suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending, either in whole or in part, UK Global Tariff import duties on certain goods, normally those used as inputs into domestic production processes.

When assessing applications, the government will take into account relevant considerations. These will include:

  • international arrangements to which the UK is a party (for example free trade agreements)
  • factors such as:
    • the interests of consumers in the United Kingdom
    • the interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned
    • the desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom
    • the desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom
    • the extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition
  • how other government policies may be affected by the proposed duty suspension (such as trade remedies)
  • any circumvention risks due to tariff reclassification

Outcome of the 2023 duty suspension window

The government invited applications for duty suspensions between 12 June and 6 August 2023. A total of 245 applications were received.

The full list of all products and HS commodity code classifications on which suspensions were considered is accessible below:

The government has now carefully considered the outcome of these applications and would like to thank applicants for their participation. The list of suspensions that the government has implemented is accessible below:

The suspensions took effect on 11 April 2024. They will be in place until 30 June 2026, with a review on possible extension occurring before this date. Further details on this review will be announced in due course.

All applicants have been individually updated directly on the outcome of their applications.

Outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window

The government invited applications for duty suspensions between 1 June and 31 July 2021. As a result, over 100 measures were implemented on 1 January 2023.

The majority of these measures are in force until 31 December 2024. The government is currently inviting objections from the public on extending these measures until June 2026.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) critical products

The UK government implemented tariff suspensions on a number of medical items critical in the response to COVID-19 on 1 January 2021. Three suspensions were expired for goods where there have been no imports under the suspensions (5603 91 10, 2905 44 11 00 and 2905 44 99 00). This was based on HMRC raw customs data for the period January 2021 to August 2022.

In an effort to provide continuity for businesses and ease pressures on the NHS, these suspensions are now extended until 31 December 2028.

Sunflower-seed oil

The UK government will implement a tariff suspension on sunflower-seed oil on 1 January 2023 in response to supply chain disruption. This measure will take effect until 31 December 2024.

Current ATQs

The UK currently has 6 existing ATQs:

  • 5 ATQs for fish products
  • 1 ATQ for raw cane sugar

Read more detail on these products:

ATQs for fish products

4 ATQs for fish products will continue at current volume levels until 31 December 2024. These will be reviewed ahead of that date.

ATQ order number 05.2794 is set at 6,500 tonnes for 2023.

ATQ for raw cane sugar

The UK implemented an Autonomous Tariff Quota (ATQ) on raw cane sugar on 1 January 2021 following its departure from the EU. Following a subsequent review of all UK ATQs in 2021, we maintained the volume level of this ATQ at 260,000 tonnes.

Consideration of the raw cane sugar ATQ volume for 2023

In the context of recent domestic supply challenges and significant increases in sugar prices, we reached out to a range of stakeholders in autumn 2023 and welcomed information from any interested stakeholders via contact details provided on GOV.UK. We wanted to understand any issues in the UK sugar market and to consider potential mitigations that the government could take in 2023.

We received 8 responses in total, providing information from a range of stakeholders who we know have an interest in this area, including representatives from the industry and from those representing consumer and retail interests.

Whilst the responses received reflected the different interests of stakeholders, there were some common themes. These are summarised as:

  • the relatively poor UK and European sugar beet harvests in 2022 led to increased imports of raw cane sugar in 2023. Currently, the harvest outlook for the 2023 to 2024 season is more positive

  • world sugar prices are high which is pushing up prices in the UK and the EU. The relatively smaller 2022 harvest in the UK and the EU, which has resulted in higher-than-normal imports to meet demand, has caused the European price to rise even above the world price level. Some stakeholders also noted the impact of tariff policy on prices

Overall, there were varying views on the proposed government options for action in this area in 2023. There was no consensus on the preferred approach. Some stakeholders were in favour of providing greater access for tariff-free sources of sugar, and some were in favour of an uplift to the ATQ. Some were in favour of both. Others were opposed to any change and cited concerns about the impact on domestic production, other producers (for example, in developing countries) or standards. There was also no consensus on the impact any such change would have on consumer prices.

In coming to a decision, the government took into account the stakeholder views received as part of this process. We also drew on our internal analysis including consideration of a range of factors, including potential impacts on consumers, producers and the UK's wider strategic trade objectives.

On the basis of these considerations, the government has decided to maintain the current sugar ATQ for 2023 at the existing level of 260,000 tonnes for the remainder of 2023.

Consultation on the ATQ for raw cane sugar and related considerations

Following our commitment in 2021 to review the ATQ volume by the end of 2024, the government launched a public consultation on the autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) for raw cane sugar and related considerations. This consultation has now closed and the government is aiming to announce a decision in summer 2024.

UK Global Tariff

Find more guidance on tariffs on goods imported into the UK. This page also sets out how you can provide feedback on the tariff.

Contact us

For queries about tariff suspensions or ATQs, contact [email protected].