UK drops tariffs on US goods in push for trade deal

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

The UK has confirmed it will break from the EU's trade policy on January 1st by suspending tariffs on a range of imports from the US.

The UK is set to drop newly-imposed tariffs on imports of US-made goods from January 1st in a bid to smooth relations and increase the odds of a trade deal.

Duties were imposed on a range of American-made products by the EU in November as part of the ongoing dispute over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers. 

However, once the UK is free to make its own trade decisions after the end of the Brexit transition period, these will now be suspended for imports to the UK.

Tariffs of up to 25 per cent were imposed by the EU on items including Boeing jetliners - which are at the heart of the trade dispute between the EU and the US - as well as tractors, tobacco, ketchup, orange juice, cheddar cheese and sweet potatoes, among others. 

In total, $4 billion worth of imports are affected.

The EU tariffs were imposed in response to US duties that have affected European imports of items such as wines, cheese and Scotch whisky.     

In a statement, UK international trade secretary Liz Truss said: "As an independent trading nation once again, we finally have the ability to shape these tariffs to our interests and our economy, and to stand up for UK business.

"Ultimately, we want to de-escalate the conflict and come to a negotiated settlement so we can deepen our trading relationship with the US and draw a line under all this."

Neither the EU or the US have yet commented on the unilateral move by the UK, and there is no indication on whether US tariffs on UK imports would also be dropped as a reciprocal measure.

However, UK exporters have welcomed the efforts to ease tensions in the long-running dispute.

Chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association Karen Betts said it is a "very encouraging step" by the UK government. She noted whisky exports to the US have fallen by 30 per cent as a result of the current tariffs, and urged the US to take similar measures to remove these duties.