PRESS RELEASE: Zero tariffs whitewash continues
Government’s announcement to introduce zero tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit, is running roughshod over certain sections of British manufacturing.
The temporary tariff regime, updated today, comes following a year of campaigning and lobbying by the British Ceramic Confederation, to spell out to Government the threat this poses to jobs, businesses and communities.
Some concessions were made in March, allowing wall and floor tiles and some tableware only that have anti-dumping measures in place to continue with their current level of import tariffs.
All other ceramic imports will have a zero tariff in a no-deal Brexit. There has still been no official consultation or assessment and industry leaders remain furious from the lack of engagement ahead of this devastating decision.
Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation said: “Zero tariffs could destroy many manufacturing sectors in Britain.”
The confederation has warned there are far-reaching consequences across the British economy impacting people’s jobs, businesses and communities.
Dr Cohen added: “Government says ‘they’ll see how it goes for a year’ and will run a consultation. In a no-deal Brexit there are going to be delays in monitoring import levels and the damage from a flood of imports could be done before we can prove an import surge. That just isn’t good enough!
“We need Government to put in place now for after Brexit a really fast track route to reinstate current tariffs where there is any hint that British manufacturing jobs are being hit. Government is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.
“Our successful businesses have already tied up much cash in Brexit preparations, in stocks or raw materials and finished goods, in paying overtime to deal with a spike in export orders, with resulting sparse order books later this year.
“If they have a flood of imports on top of this, it’s going to be really challenging. At the same time, in a no deal Brexit our British manufacturers’ products would suddenly be more expensive in Europe and in places like Japan and Canada where we will have lost our preferential access. It’s a double whammy.”
There are extra concerns for bathroom manufacturers and tableware and giftware not covered by current anti-dumping measures as these have particularly high current most favoured nation import tariffs.
Neil Gore, Managing Director of The Imperial Bathroom Company, in Aldridge, said: “We are one of just a handful of British ceramic bathroom manufacturers left in this country with over 90% having disappeared in the last 20 years.
“We employ 73 people, making the very finest British, top quality products, sold all around the world.
“The tariff code for imported basins, pedestals, toilets and cisterns from our international competitors will be zero according to the announcements today, which gives another significant benefit to our competitors, whilst our exports to those markets being charged tariffs will be more expensive.
“I urge Government to reconsider, we need action to support the manufacturing sector, not destroy it.”
Notes to editors
The British Ceramic Confederation is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic manufacturing, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.
For further information please contact:
Ciara Jagger, Communications Manager, British Ceramic Confederation, Federation House, Station Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2SA.