What will the tariff implication of Brexit be?


The question: “What will the tariff implication of Brexit be?” comes from a recent webinar we hosted on ‘What exporters need to know about Brexit in 2018’.

The answer below comes from the Institute of Export & International Trade who spoke alongside Enterprise Europe Network to give an overview of the challenges and opportunities that UK exporters will face in 2018 as the negotiations continue and hopefully progress.


As with many questions, this depends on the specifics of the Brexit negotiations.  Assuming that the UK does leave the existing EU Customs Union, it will have the right to set its own customs tariff; indeed, as an individual “free-standing” member of the World Trade Organisation, it will be obliged to do so.  This gives the UK the capability to set rates of duty for goods imported into the UK from all external countries. These could be set at similar levels to the present, or higher or lower (within WTO regulations).

If there is no Brexit agreement for trade with the EU:       Goods exported to EU countries would be subject to import duty at the current EU tariff rate. Businesses can check out this rate by accessing the current EU tariff at:  http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/dds2/taric/taric_consultation.jsp?Lang=en and inserting the tariff code for the product.  Goods imported from the EU would be subject to import duty at whatever rate of duty is stipulated in the new UK customs tariff, once it is defined and published. The UK tariff is currently available at:  https://www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/trade-tariff/sections

If there is a Brexit agreement for trade with the EU:   Tariffs will depend on the detail of the agreement. Based on current feedback from political and trade observers, any settlement is likely to be based on a Free Trade Agreement framework.   If this is the case, any reductions or exemptions from duties will depend on the “origin” of the goods in the customs context. There is a real possibility that these benefits will only apply for goods which are of either UK or EU origin, and traders may be obliged to make a statement of origin, either on an invoice or a separate document, to get access to this, and goods which do not meet these criteria will still be subject to import duty.

You can watch the webinar on ‘What exporters need to know about Brexit in 2018’ here:


Following the 2017 version of the webinar, we also released a 12-point checklist for companies starting to plan for the different potential outcomes of Brexit. You can view this checklist here.


If you have any further questions about Brexit – or exporting in general – you can use the Institute’s ‘Exporter Helpline’ service.

The helpline is either free for Institute members or can be accessed for a small fee by non-members. More information and access to the helpline can be found at:



About the Institute of Export & International Trade

The Institute of Export & International Trade‘s mission is to enhance the export performance of the United Kingdom by setting and maintaining professional standards in international trade management and export practice. This is principally achieved by the provision of education, training and practical business support services.

The challenging and often complex trading conditions in international markets mean that our role has never been more vital. The Institute continues to be committed to the belief that real competitive advantage lies in the competence of British businesses. Our future export growth must be underpinned by a sound foundation of knowledge.

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