The United Kingdom (UK) is set to lower import duties on thousands of products coming from some of the world’s poorest nations, including African countries.
The Developing Countries Trading Scheme will be introduced in January 2022 and is set to promote commerce between African nations and the UK.
According to the Department for International Trade, this move is an attempt by the UK to help alleviate poverty in developing countries as well as reduce reliance on aid.
The trading scheme will help 65 developing nations and 99% of the commodities imported from Africa. Many products, including textiles and fruit from the world’s poorest countries, already enjoy reduced tariffs.
The scheme will eliminate some seasonal duties on these items, making them tariff-free in most participating nations during this time. For example, cucumbers that cannot be grown in the UK in the winter.
Additionally, the scheme makes trade regulations easier to understand, such as the rules of origin, which specify how much of a product must be produced in the nation of origin.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the secretary for international trade, stated that: “As an independent trading nation, we are regaining control of our trade policy and making choices that benefit UK firms, lower living expenses, and strengthen the economies of developing nations around the world.”
The plan has been commended by many analysts who think that UK businesses will benefit from reduced bureaucracy and lower expenses because the scheme will encourage businesses to import goods from poorer nations.
For products like clothes, footwear, and food that are not frequently produced in the UK, lower or no tariffs will be advantageous. However, just a small portion of the UK’s imports, about 2.5% of all commodities brought into the country, come from Africa.
Eight countries from sub-Saharan Africa, largely former colonies, including Rwanda, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, and South Africa, are among the top exporters to the UK.
The trade between Africa and the UK has long been regarded as being undervalued, and the quantity of goods that Britain exports to Africa has been decreasing in recent years.
The plan has largely been described as positive by many African policymakers. However, the scheme comes with some conditions attached. UK authorities will suspend a country from the scheme if it fails to meet its climate change obligations as well as violations of human rights and labor laws