The government has announced temporary tariffs on bicycles of zero, should the UK leave the European Union with a ‘no-deal Brexit’.
As the Brexit deadline of 29 March edges ever closer, the government has been readying business for the implications of a “no deal” situation. In that event, as the Bicycle Association (BA) noted, temporary tariffs have been set out, with a zero tariff on all bicycle goods, while the e-bike rate would remain at 6%. These tariffs would apply for “up to 12 months”. Based on the announcement, the BA has initially said that the zero tariff appears to apply to all conventional bicycles, parts and accessories, aside from e-bikes and speed pedelecs. Notably, the documents are in draft form, so there may yet be changes from UK Gov.
While the news does give bicycle importers some further clarity, the situation is still in flux. Tonight (13 March 2019), Parliament will vote on whether to ask the EU for a delay to its exit, which may affect the prospects of a “no deal” Brexit. Otherwise, “no deal” looks very likely.
This latest announcement stated that around 87% (by value) of imported goods would see a zero tariff in a “no deal” Brexit (around 80% of imported goods (by value) are currently tariff-free, according to the BBC). The government said: “British businesses would not pay customs duties on the majority of goods when importing into the UK if we leave the European Union without an agreement.”
Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery said: “Our priority is securing a deal with the European Union as this will avoid disruption to our global trading relationships. However, we must prepare for all eventualities.
“If we leave without a deal, we will set the majority of our import tariffs to zero, whilst maintaining tariffs for the most sensitive industries.
“This balanced approach will help to support British jobs and avoid potential price spikes that would hit the poorest households the hardest.
“It represents a modest liberalisation of tariffs and we will be monitoring the economy closely, as well as consulting with businesses, to decide what our tariffs should be after this transitional period.”
The BA will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and will be involved with industry consultation on new permanent rates once the temporary period ends (in the event of a “no deal” Brexit).