Temporary duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas for importing goods into the UK.
Duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas
Duty suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency (Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey) 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 trade remedies duty, such as 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 ATQ into Northern Ireland.
Current duty suspensions
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 2024.
Outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window
The government invited applications for duty suspensions between 1 June and 31 July 2021. A total of 232 applications were received and carefully considered.
The outcome of the 2021 window has now been finalised. Applicants have been updated on the outcome of their applications directly. These suspensions will take effect on 1 January 2023.
How we assessed applications in 2021
Applications needed to meet all of the following criteria:
- applicants should have been based in the UK or Crown Dependencies
- all completed application forms needed to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no sooner than 1 June 2021, and no later than 11.55pm on 31 July 2021
- UK and Crown Dependency businesses needed to demonstrate that they would have saved at least £10,000 in duties if the suspension had been in force in 2020 (2019 data could have been provided if businesses had been impacted by COVID-19)
- the request should not have been for a product that is traded between related parties (defined in Regulation 8(4) of the Customs Tariff (Suspension of Import Duty Rates) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020), in circumstances which would mean other UK or Crown Dependency businesses cannot benefit from a suspension
- the product or substitutable products could not be produced in the UK or Crown Dependencies, only produced in limited quantities, or production was temporarily insufficient (products other than raw products were 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)
- the product needed to be used in a production process or there needed to be a demonstration of a specific temporary need for the product
For applications that did not meet these criteria, applicants were requested to provide an explanation of why their application should be considered.
The government also assessed requests with regard to other relevant considerations, including:
- international arrangements to which the UK is a party
- relevant factors under section 8(5) of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018
- how other government policies may be affected by the proposed duty suspension (such as trade remedies)
- any circumvention risks due to tariff reclassification
- the Public Sector Equality Duty
A notice of the applications that were made during the 2021 applications window was published. UK and Crown Dependency businesses had the opportunity to object to any requests.
Apply for a new duty suspension
The next application opportunity for duty suspensions will open in 2023. Additional details will be made available on this page in due course.
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. In October 2021, the government also introduced additional suspensions on 14 COVID-19 vaccine components. The government has extended the suspension of import duties for the majority of these products until 31 December 2023. Three suspensions will expire for goods where there have been no imports under the suspensions (5603 91 10, 2905 44 11 00 and 2905 44 99 00). This is based on HMRC raw customs data for the period January 2021 to August 2022.
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.
The UK currently has 6 existing ATQs:
- 5 ATQs for fish products
- one ATQ for raw cane sugar
Read more detail on these products:
ATQs for fish products
Four 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 ATQ for raw cane sugar will continue at its current volume level (260,000 tonnes) until 31 December 2024. It will be reviewed ahead of that date.
The government carefully considered all relevant evidence when determining ATQ volume levels.
The government in making its decision had regard to all relevant considerations, including the principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, namely the:
- interests of consumers in the United Kingdom
- interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned
- desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom
- desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom
- extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition
The government also endeavoured to:
- balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK’s trade ambitions and free trade agreement agenda
- maintain the government’s commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade
The government also considered our international obligations under section 28 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.
For queries about tariff suspensions or ATQs, contact TariffSuspensions@trade.gov.uk.