Duty suspensions and tariff quotas
Last updated 9 August 2021
Temporary duty suspensions and tariff quotas for importing goods into the UK.
Duty suspensions and tariff quotas
Duty suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending import duties on certain goods, normally those used in domestic production.
These suspensions do not apply to other duties that may be chargeable like VAT or the anti-dumping duty.
Duty suspensions allow unlimited quantities to be imported into the UK at a reduced tariff rate. Autonomous Tariff Quotas (ATQs) allow limited quantities to be imported at a reduced rate.
Duty suspensions and ATQs are temporary and can be used by any UK business while in force. They are applied on a ‘Most Favoured Nation’ ('MFN') basis. This means that goods subject to these suspensions or quotas can be imported into the UK from any country or territory at the specified reduced tariff rate.
Current suspensions and quotas
Find the current duty suspensions and quotas using the Trade Tariff Lookup Tool.
Duty suspensions for products which previously existed in the UK under the EU suspensions regime have been carried over into the UK’s independent regime. They have been retained, provided they came into force before, or as part of, the EU’s July 2020 update to ensure continuity for UK businesses.
A number of EU ATQs have also been transitioned into tariff suspensions in the UK’s independent suspensions regime. This means that there is no volume limit for the reduced rate applied to these goods. This includes some fish products, which previously had ATQs applied to them under the EU regime.
All current duty suspensions rolled over from the EU regime, including EU ATQs changed to duty suspensions, will be extended beyond 31 December 2021. This will not apply where the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) rate is already 0 per cent.
COVID-19 critical products
The UK government implemented tariff suspensions on a number of medical items critical in the response to COVID-19 on 1 January 2021. These suspensions apply for an initial period of 12 months subject to review.
All products listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 2020 as COVID-19 critical are able to enter the UK tariff free.
These tariff suspensions will be reviewed ahead of their expiry on 31 December 2021 to determine whether they are still required:
The government is working with representative sectoral stakeholders to review all existing ATQs, namely:
- 5 ATQs for fish products
- 1 ATQ for raw cane sugar
This review will help us make an evidence-based judgement on the future of our ATQs. It will ensure that ATQs meet the needs of UK businesses and consumers.
The outcome of the review will be published in due course. We endeavour to make sure any changes to ATQs come into force on 1 January 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Apply for a new duty suspension
The 2021 application period closed on 31 July 2021.
Additional application opportunities will open in 2022.
How applications are assessed
Your application should meet all of the following criteria:
- applicants are based in the UK or Crown Dependencies
- UK and Crown Dependency businesses would have saved at least £10,000 in duties if the suspension had been in force in 2020 (you can provide 2019 data if your business has been impacted by COVID-19)
- the request is not for a product that is traded between related parties, in circumstances which would mean other UK or Crown Dependency businesses cannot benefit from a suspension
- the product or substitutable products are not produced in the UK or Crown Dependencies, only produced in limited quantities, or production is temporarily insufficient
- the product will be used in a production process or there is a specific temporary need for the product
If you do not meet all of the criteria, you should provide an explanation in the form as to why your application should be considered.
The government will also assess requests with regard to other relevant considerations. More information about the assessment criteria and process is included in the guidance section of the application form.
A list of the applications made will be provided once the application period has closed. UK and Crown Dependency businesses will be able to object to any requests.
Suspensions granted as a result of the application process are expected to come into effect no earlier than early 2022 and apply until Summer 2024. You will have the opportunity to reapply for duty suspensions ahead of expiry.
Make an objection
UK and Crown Dependency businesses will be able to make objections to any application later this year. You can object to a duty suspension being applied to specific products or to the applicable commodity codes.
Objections will inform the assessment of the applications, but will not automatically lead to the rejection of a suspension request. More guidance on the objections process will follow.