The British government released a new tariff plan on Wednesday in preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit.
Despite Parliament voting down the option for the UK to exit the EU without an agreement on March 29, it could be reintroduced if negotiations extend past the current deadline.
The plan would institute a zero-tariff policy on 87% of all foreign imports in an effort to protect UK industries from the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit. Currently, 100% of imports from EU members into the UK enter tariff-free. If this plan is applied, only 82% of EU products would qualify.
A number of industries — including agriculture, beef, dairy and automotive — would be affected by newly imposed tariffs.
Thomas Cooney, an Irish beef and dairy farmer, said this measure would have a “detrimental effect” on his business as 50% of his products are sent to the UK.
“We would need the EU to stand behind small countries like Ireland if this happened and there would need to be a robust solidarity fund put in place to tide us over until we find alternative markets.”
Conservative British MEP Dan Dalton later responded, saying the UK’s proposed tariffs on the beef industry are mild compared to those planned by the EU.
“The only way we could avoid this situation is by getting a free trade deal or getting some sort of deal that can be imposed. Otherwise, the UK would have to apply its tariffs — if it offered the EU something special — to every other country in the world.”
Exports from the UK would likely be subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) terms in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The WTO terms would require EU member states to treat the UK as a “third country”, allowing no special treatment.