Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the accompanying video. ©2020 Thomson Reuters.
After decades outsourcing its trade policy to the EU, Britain is seeking free trade agreements with countries around the world. It's on a mission to have deals in place covering 80% of British trade by 2022.
On Tuesday [May 19] the UK announced a new post-Brexit regime to replace the EU's external tariff. The plan, called the UK Global Tariff, keeps a 10% duty on cars but cuts levies on tens of billions of dollars of supply chain imports. It's to be enforced from January and marks a departure from what some UK officials call an overly complex EU system.
Britain is currently negotiating trade deals with both the US and the Brussels-based bloc.
The new regime will maintain tariffs on products competing with industries such as agriculture, automotive, and fishing. But it will remove levies on imports worth £30 billion — about $37 billion — entering UK supply chains.
The government said that while almost all pharmaceuticals and most medical devices, including ventilators, are already tariff-free, some products used to fight the [COVID-19] crisis still face duties. It's introducing a temporary zero rate on these products, including personal protective equipment from non-EU countries.