Comment from FTA on import tariffs announcement and reaction to Spring Statement

Comment from FTA on import tariffs announcement and reaction to Spring Statement

Import tariff Announcement

After weeks of repeated requests for clarity by FTA, the business organisation which represents the interests of the logistics sector, the Government has finally published details on the tariffs that will apply to products imported into the UK after Brexit – many of which departed their countries of origin more than two weeks ago. In addition, the Government has also finally provided the tools for businesses to find the 10 digit commodity codes for their products. Information released today (13 March 2019) also reveals that only a minority of EU trade agreements will be ‘rolled over’ on day one after Brexit.

Pauline Bastidon, FTA Head of Global & European Policy said: “The crucial information released by Government today on tariffs applying to imports into the UK on day one in the event of a no deal Brexit is, frankly, long overdue. This is critical information for importers, who have been kept in the dark for too long in spite of repeated requests for transparency.

“The list of origin countries that will benefit from preferential access is also revealing in itself. With only 13 working days left until the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, it is deeply concerning to get confirmation at this late stage that only a minority of EU trade agreements will have been rolled over. This not only represents an additional cost for importers, but is bad news for exporters too as it will limit access to preferential trade deals too. MPs should bear that in mind when asked to consider a no deal exit later today”.

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

Spring Statement

Reacting to the government’s Spring Statement, Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA (Freight Transport Association), the business group representing the interests of the logistics sector, commented:

“FTA is pleased the Chancellor of the Exchequer has recognised the importance of infrastructure investment and skills development in the Spring Statement. We want to see the UK given the long-term investment in transport infrastructure that it needs to meet the challenges of the future.  We also want to see the government adopt a more flexible approach to skills training by transforming the Apprenticeship Levy into a Skills Levy, to fully cater to the range of training that industries, including the logistics sector, need to populate its workforce with the right candidates.”

To coincide with the launch of the Spring Statement, FTA will send all Members of Parliament a Briefing Paper on logistics and taxation today. The aim of the paper is to increase the awareness of MPs on the realities of the tax regime and charges faced by logistics in the UK and how they interact with industry behaviour.

Snelling continued: “The UK’s logistics sector is the most highly taxed in Europe, yet legislators do not appear to understand the implications this has on industry; MPs simply do not understand the realities of logistics and taxation, nor how industry reacts to tax adjustments. This ignorance leads to mistaken beliefs, including the view that the industry is under-taxed, which in turn leads to misinformed proposals. For example, believing that increasing one tax or another could solve the social impacts of freight movements. Life is more complicated than that, as we hope to show in this Briefing Paper.”

The briefing paper sets out that:

  • Rail freight pays over £100m each year in taxes and charges to the government and Network Rail, reducing its ability to play as large a role as it could in the UK supply chain; this figure is expected to increase in the next few years.
  • Road fuel duty is the highest in Europe; 50% higher than the EU average.  The tax could be reduced without cost to the UK Exchequer due to the other tax revenue that resulting economic activity would generate.
  • Most tax changes do not affect environmental performance, as this is already highly incentivised.  Service is king and determines what operators do. Mostly taxes are simply revenue raising exercises, at a direct cost to the UK economy and UK consumers.

The Briefing Paper can be read at www.fta.co.uk/taxationbriefing

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

For more information on FTA please visit https://fta.co.uk