Duty suspensions and tariff quotas


Last updated 23 November 2023

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.

When more than one tariff concession applies, importers will wish to ensure that their goods are entered at the most advantageous rate.

Read guidance on declaring goods ‘not at risk’ of moving to the EU if you are importing goods subject to a duty suspension or an Autonomous Tariff Quota into Northern Ireland.

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.

All current duty suspensions rolled over from the EU regime, including EU ATQs changed to duty suspensions, are extended until 31 August 2028.

Apply for a new duty suspension

The 2023 application window for new duty suspensions has now closed. The deadline for applications was 11:59pm on Sunday 6 August 2023. The government has received 245 applications.

Between 20 September 2023 and 18 October 2023, the government ran a 4-week objections window.

The government has published a list of all products and HS commodity code classifications on which suspensions are being considered as a result of this year’s application process. The wider public were invited to submit any objections they had on the proposed suspensions.

The objections window has now closed, but the list is still accessible below.

The list is not an indication of whether an application has been successful. The government expects to confirm the outcome of all applications in early 2024.

The government is currently considering objections that have been received as part of an assessment process. Whilst individual objections will not be publicly disclosed, the government may reach out to applicants if any further clarification of, or information related to, their application is required.

An objection to an application does not automatically lead to a rejection of that application. All objections are being considered alongside all other information, where the government is taking into account the core criteria and any other relevant considerations.

The criteria and examples of the wider considerations the government will consider when assessing applications are set out below.

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How applications will be assessed in 2023

Applications submitted as part of this process need to meet both of the following criteria:

  • the product you are seeking a suspension on should not be not traded between persons who are related parties (defined in Regulation 8(4) of the Customs Tariff (Suspension of Import Duty Rates) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020) in circumstances which would not enable other United Kingdom businesses to benefit from the suspension
  • the same product (falling under the same commodity code) or similar products, should not be produced in the UK or Crown Dependencies, not produced in sufficient quantities, or production should be temporarily insufficient. (Products other than raw products are taken to be produced in the UK or a Crown Dependency if they are partly or wholly manufactured in the UK or a Crown Dependency. Simple assembly operations, repacking products, or preparing products for shipment or transportation would not normally be considered production processes)

It is strongly recommended you ensure your application meets these criteria. If these criteria are not met, your application may not be considered.

Tariff suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending, either in whole or in part, UK Global Tariff import duties on certain goods, normally those used as inputs into domestic production processes.

When assessing applications, the government will also take into account relevant considerations. These may include:

  • international arrangements to which the UK is a party (for example free trade agreements)
  • factors such as:

    • the interests of consumers in the United Kingdom
    • the interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned
    • the desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom
    • the desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom
    • the extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition
  • how other government policies may be affected by the proposed duty suspension (such as trade remedies)
  • any circumvention risks due to tariff reclassification

Outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window

The government invited applications for duty suspensions between 1 June and 31 July 2021. As a result, over 100 measures were implemented on 1 January 2023.

Coronavirus (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. The government has extended the suspension of import duties for the majority of these products until 31 December 2023. Three suspensions were expired for goods where there have been no imports under the suspensions (5603 91 10, 2905 44 11 00 and 2905 44 99 00). This was based on HMRC raw customs data for the period January 2021 to August 2022.

In an effort to provide continuity for businesses and ease pressures on the NHS, these suspensions are now extended until 31 December 2028.

Sunflower-seed oil

The UK government will implement a tariff suspension on sunflower-seed oil on 1 January 2023 in response to supply chain disruption. This measure will take effect until 31 December 2024.

Current ATQs

The UK currently has 6 existing ATQs:

  • 5 ATQs for fish products
  • 1 ATQ for raw cane sugar

Read more detail on these products:

ATQs for fish products

4 ATQs for fish products will continue at current volume levels until 31 December 2024. These will be reviewed ahead of that date.

ATQ order number 05.2794 is set at 6,500 tonnes for 2023.

ATQ for raw cane sugar

The UK implemented an ATQ on raw cane sugar on 1 January 2021 following its departure from the EU. Following a subsequent review of all UK ATQs in 2021, the volume level of this ATQ was maintained at 260,000 tonnes.

Read more about the ATQ for raw cane sugar.

UK Global Tariff

Find more guidance on tariffs on goods imported into the UK. This page also sets out how you can provide feedback on the tariff.

Contact us

For queries about tariff suspensions or ATQs, contact tariffsuspensions@businessandtrade.gov.uk.