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New trading scheme cuts tariffs on imports from developing countries

The government has launched a new trading scheme for developing countries that is expected to help UK businesses access hundreds of products from around the globe at lower prices.

The new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), which comes into effect in early 2023, will extend tariff cuts under the previous EU regime to a much wider range of products from 65 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. It means that 99 per cent of goods imported from Africa, for example, will enter the UK duty-free.

The government said that British businesses will be able to benefit from more than £750 million per year of reduced import costs as a result, leading to “more choice and lower costs for UK consumers” to help with the cost of living.

The scheme also simplifies some complex product specific rules (PSRs) and trade rules such as ‘rules of origin’ – used to determine where goods are ‘from’ based on where they have been produced or had substantial work done to them. It is hoped the changes will make it easier for more overseas businesses to export, encouraging developing countries to play a larger role in the global trade community while helping to strengthen UK supply chains.

Mohammed Jabbar, Managing Director of Bangladesh-based textile business DBL Group, one of the thousands of exporters set to benefit, commented:

“These new rules will be a game changer for us. They mean we will be able to source our cotton from many more countries than we could before, which will make the business more competitive and our supply chains a lot more resilient.”

The DCTS is part of a wider push by government to drive a free trade agenda with international partners, particularly in the context of increasing tensions with major exporters like China. The drive includes a new initiative called Platinum Partnerships – named after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – which are designed to strengthen two-way trade between lower and middle-income Commonwealth countries.

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