Tariff guide given to seafood exporters as post-Brexit trade eyed up

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 17 Oct 2018

A GUIDE to what a new post-Brexit tariff regime may bring was provided to UK Seafood Summit delegates by Seafish’s regulatory affairs advisor Ivan Bartolo.

With documents issued suggesting a no deal would default to World Trade Organization rules, those exporting were advised to ensure they are fully abridged, with the industry-supporting organisation providing guides to what will be required.

Mr Bartolo, who has been with Seafish for 15 years, holds several key positions across industry.

He said: “Tariffs are a tax on imports. They generate income for the state and offer protection for local businesses from cheaper imports. You may remember from your history lessons the Corn Law to stop cheap imports of wheat, maize and grains coming in during the 1700s and 1800s. That was to protect the landowners, to the detriment of the mercantile classes. It was repealed in 1846 and there was a zero tariff, and example of free trade.”

The current EU state of trade with the world.

And while exports were the focus, he said seafood processors needed to be aware of the pressures on the supply chain.

“It tends to be importers who pay the tariffs,” he said. “If exporting you may think it is not your business as you don’t need to pay them, but you have to think about the guy buying your goods. He is going to have to pay a tariff, and it adds to the cost, and therefore the decision as to whether your product is competitive in the country you want to export to.

“Every single item is listed, from tractor parts to silk pyjamas and all different species of seafood, and next to it is a tariff code. Seafood is usually 0 to 40 per cent, but I have seen 100 per cent.

“There has been a technical notification from UK government, it came out on August 23, and it tells us that if it is no deal, this will be the sort of thing we will have to pay full rate for.”

Potential No Deal EU tariffs. 

From the USA and Saudi Arabia having mainly 0 per cent, to Argentina at 10 per cent, China at 12 per cent and India and Turkey at 30 per cent, details were given of different outcomes, from remaining in a customs union to quota-dependant tariffs, preferential arrangements and trade agreements.

UK Seafood Summit round-up:

Asked about the latter, and the time they take to happen, Mr Bartolo said: “I have been following trade negotiations. Europe has been conducting them and they take a ridiculously long time. Two years was the record shortest one, but there have been trade agreements in the making for decades.

"It takes a long time, but the EU has had to consult with 28 countries, so it maybe that stretches it out a little bit. Does the UK have the people to do it? I would think they do. There are already consultations with Australia, US, New Zealand and with the Pacific states, the Government is already on with it.”

Rates of global tariffs.

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