UK to cut import taxes on 99% of goods imported from Africa
The United Kingdom is to cut import taxes on hundreds more products from some of the world’s poorest countries, which is a part of its wider push to use trade to “drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty”, as well as reduce dependency on aid.
The Department for International Trade said Monday (15 August) the scheme covers 65 developing countries and will affect around 99% of goods imported from Africa. The Developing Countries Trading Scheme comes into force in January and builds on a scheme the UK was first part of while a member of the European Union. Goods such as clothes, shoes and foods not widely produced in the UK will benefit from lower or zero tariffs. The scheme includes powers to suspend a country on the grounds of human rights or labour violations, as well as for not meeting their climate change obligations.
Many goods, from textiles to fruit, in 65 of the world’s poorest nations already benefit from reduced or zero tariffs when sold to the UK — and the new scheme cuts some of those charges further. It also simplifies the rules for which items, such as some textiles, qualify for preferential treatment. Goods such as clothes, shoes and foods not widely produced in the UK will benefit from lower or zero tariffs. But goods and services from Africa make up just a tiny share of the UK’s imports, accounting for 2.5% of the total goods imported into Britain. Only eight nations from sub-Saharan Africa mostly former colonies count the UK in their top 10 export destinations. The amount of products Britain sends to Africa isn’t just small, it’s also shrinking.