NI Tax Committee responses to most favoured nation tariffs policy

Mar 30, 2020

In its response to the consultation examining the UK’s proposed most favoured nations tariffs policy, the NI Tax Committee stresses the importance of introducing a Global Tariff system which mirrors the current EU External Tariffs system.

This should be in place for a period of at least two years after the end of the Brexit transition period. It is already be familiar to many businesses who currently import from outside the EU.

Should the UK then wish to design a bespoke UK Global Tariff, the two year window can be used to carry out a deep dive and engage specifically with different sectors of the UK economy to arrive at a Global Tariff System which will allow the UK economy to compete on a global basis.

The Northern Ireland / Ireland Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement provides for certain specific arrangements as regards Northern Ireland. Although this matter therefore sits outside the current consultation, the Committee called for a full and rigorous process of consultation to be undertaken with the business community in order to develop detailed guidance on the specifics of this Protocol. This needs to be conducted as a matter of urgency and should address the format and administration of specific border checks in the area of customs and regulation to allow businesses sufficient time to prepare for the post transition period.

Article 15 of the Protocol referred to the establishment of a joint consultative working group as a forum for the exchange of information and mutual consultation due to meet at least once a month. Now that trade talks have commenced between the UK and the EU, meetings of this forum should start as a matter of urgency and a workplan should be produced as soon as possible to engage with the business community on this important matter.