The government said Wednesday its “balanced approach” aims to offset a spike in prices that consumers would experience in a no-deal departure as a result of the falling pound and higher costs of imports. But a major U.K. business lobby described it as a “sledgehammer” for the economy.
The announcement comes after Parliament overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a second time Tuesday night, and lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday to rule out leaving the EU without a deal -- a scenario the premier herself accepted would cause “damage” to the U.K. Revealing the government’s no-deal planning so close to the vote will be seen by many MPs as a strategy to focus minds.
“This is no way to run a country,” Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, told the BBC. “What we are potentially going to see is this imposition of new terms of trade at the same time as business is blocked out of its closest trading partner. This is a sledgehammer for our economy.”
The government also said any tariffs won’t apply to goods imported into Northern Ireland from Ireland. There will be a “temporary, unilateral approach” that wouldn’t require checks at the Irish land border.
According to the Temporary Tariff Regime, 87 percent of goods by value will be eligible for tariff-free access, compared with 80 percent currently. The remainder, including some meat and dairy, as well as finished cars, will be subject to tariffs to protect domestic industry. The list doesn’t include car parts imported from the European Union. [...]
Related article on POLITICO: Ireland’s no-deal Brexit tariff fears