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Egg and poultrymeat tariffs to remain under new trade policy

Graphic of global trade

TARIFFS on poultrymeat and egg imports from third countries will not change significantly under the UK’s post-Brexit trade regime.

It means that poultry farmers will enjoy the same protection from lower cost and lower welfare products imports as they currently do, once the UK has completely withdrawn from the European Union’s trade framework.

The UK Global Tariff Policy (UKGTP) was announced by Trade Secretary Liz Truss on 19 May and will maintain tariffs on many agricultural products imported from third countries.

The new regime is a marked change in government policy from its draft ‘No Deal’ tariff schedule announced last year, which would have seen poultry rates cut and egg duties removed entirely in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Risk

While there is still a risk that new trade deals – such as those underway with the US – could see egg and poultrymeat tariffs cut or removed bilaterally, the announcement was welcomed by the British Egg Industry Council’s Mark Williams.

He said it marked a significant achievement following many years of lobbying the government about the British egg industry’s high standards of production.

Mr Williams pointed, in particular, to work that shows enhanced welfare standards, environmental protection and food safety account for 16% of the cost of production of a colony egg in the UK.

‘Excellent news’

“This is excellent news and is what we have lobbied very hard for. The UK egg industry will continue to be protected by import tariffs on all our tariff lines,” he said.

“It is especially pleasing following last year’s disappointment, and our annoyance at government, for setting import tariffs at zero under the Temporary Tariff Regime which was put in place in case of a no-deal Brexit.”

‘Government listened’

“The new UKGTP has shown that government has listened to all our arguments, which we supported with strong economic evidence, of the likely consequences for our industry if they did not retain import tariffs.

The new tariff regime will apply from 1 January 2021, after the withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU formally ends. If there is no extension or deal struck, then these tariff rates would apply to European imports.