Guidance

UK Trade Tariff: duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas

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 December 2028.

Apply for a new duty suspension

The 2023 application window for new duty suspensions has now closed. The deadline for applications was 11:59pm on Sunday 6 August 2023. The government has received 245 applications.

Between 20 September 2023 and 18 October 2023, the government ran a 4-week objections window.

The government has published a list of all products and HS commodity code classifications on which suspensions are being considered as a result of this year’s application process. The wider public were invited to submit any objections they had on the proposed suspensions.

The objections window has now closed, but the list is still accessible below.

The list is not an indication of whether an application has been successful. The government expects to confirm the outcome of all applications in early 2024.

The government is currently considering objections that have been received as part of an assessment process. Whilst individual objections will not be publicly disclosed, the government may reach out to applicants if any further clarification of, or information related to, their application is required.

An objection to an application does not automatically lead to a rejection of that application. All objections are being considered alongside all other information, where the government is taking into account the core criteria and any other relevant considerations.

The criteria and examples of the wider considerations the government will consider when assessing applications are set out below.

Continue to monitor this page for updates or subscribe to get emails alerts for this page.

How we will assess applications in 2023

Applications submitted as part of this process need to meet both of the following criteria:

  • the product you are seeking a suspension on should not be not traded between persons who are related parties (defined in Regulation 8(4) of the Customs Tariff (Suspension of Import Duty Rates) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020) in circumstances which would not enable other United Kingdom businesses to benefit from the suspension
  • the same product (falling under the same commodity code) or similar products, should not be produced in the UK or Crown Dependencies, not produced in sufficient quantities, or production should be temporarily insufficient. (Products other than raw products are 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)

We strongly recommend you ensure your application meets these criteria. If these criteria are not met, your application may not be considered.

Tariff suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending, either in whole or in part, UK Global Tariff import duties on certain goods, normally those used as inputs into domestic production processes.

When assessing applications, the government will also take into account relevant considerations. These may include:

  • international arrangements to which the UK is a party (for example free trade agreements)
  • factors such as:

    • the interests of consumers in the United Kingdom
    • the interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned
    • the desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom
    • the desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom
    • the extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition
  • how other government policies may be affected by the proposed duty suspension (such as trade remedies)
  • any circumvention risks due to tariff reclassification

Outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window

The government invited applications for duty suspensions between 1 June and 31 July 2021. As a result, over 100 measures were implemented on 1 January 2023.

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. The government has extended the suspension of import duties for the majority of these products until 31 December 2023. Three suspensions were expired for goods where there have been no imports under the suspensions (5603 91 10, 2905 44 11 00 and 2905 44 99 00). This was based on HMRC raw customs data for the period January 2021 to August 2022.

In an effort to provide continuity for businesses and ease pressures on the NHS, these suspensions are now extended until 31 December 2028.

Sunflower-seed oil

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.

Current ATQs

The UK currently has 6 existing ATQs:

  • ATQs for fish products
  • 1 ATQ for raw cane sugar

Read more detail on these products:

ATQs for fish products

4 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 UK implemented an ATQ on raw cane sugar on 1 January 2021 following its departure from the EU. Following a subsequent review of all UK ATQs in 2021, we maintained the volume level of this ATQ at 260,000 tonnes.

In the context of recent domestic supply challenges and significant increases in sugar prices, we reached out to a range of stakeholders in Autumn 2023 and welcomed information from any interested stakeholders via contact details provided on gov.uk. We wanted to understand any issues in the UK sugar market and to consider potential mitigations that the Government could take in 2023.

We received eight responses in total, providing information from a range of stakeholders who we know have an interest in this area, including representatives from the industry and from those representing consumer and retail interests.

Whilst the responses received reflected the different interests of stakeholders, there were some common themes. These are summarised below:

  • The relatively poor UK and European sugar beet harvests in 2022 led to increased imports of raw cane sugar in 2023.  Currently, the harvest outlook for the 2023 to 2024 season is more positive.

  • World sugar prices are high which is pushing up prices in the UK and the EU. The relatively smaller 2022 harvest in the UK and the EU, which has resulted in higher-than-normal imports to meet demand, has caused the European price to rise even above the world price level. Some stakeholders also noted the impact of tariff policy on prices.

Overall, there were varying views on the proposed Government options for action in this area in 2023. There was no consensus on the preferred approach. Some stakeholders were in favour of providing greater access for tariff-free sources of sugar, and some were in favour of an uplift to the ATQ. Some were in favour of both. Others were opposed to any change and cited concerns about the impact on domestic production, other producers (for example, in developing countries) or standards. There was also no consensus on the impact any such change would have on consumer prices.

In coming to a decision, the Government took into account the stakeholder views received as part of this process. We also drew on our internal analysis including consideration of a range of factors, including potential impacts on consumers, producers and the UK’s wider strategic trade objectives.

On the basis of these considerations, the Government has decided to maintain the current sugar ATQ for 2023 at the existing level of 260,000 tonnes for the remainder of 2023.

UK Global Tariff

Find more guidance on tariffs on goods imported into the UK. This page also sets out how you can provide feedback on the tariff.

Contact us

For queries about tariff suspensions or ATQs, contact tariffsuspensions@businessandtrade.gov.uk.

Published 6 August 2012
Last updated 23 November 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updating the extensions of current duty suspensions to 31 December 2028.

  2. Updating the extensions of current duty suspensions to 31 August 2028.

  3. 'ATQ for raw cane sugar' summary has been updated

  4. 'Apply for a new duty suspension' section updated with information on the government's process for considering objections to applications.

  5. 'Apply for a new duty suspension' section updated to reflect closing of objections window.

  6. Apply for a new duty suspension section updated to reflect opening of objections window. Spreadsheet added for 'Notice of UK duty suspensions: 2023 application window'.

  7. Removed ATQ analysis and updated ATQ for raw cane sugar section. Changed numbers to numerical version rather than words.

  8. Updated the 'Apply for a new duty suspension' content, which outlines the governments next steps for received applications.

  9. 'Apply for new duty suspension' section updated as the 2023 application window is now closed.

  10. Details of an online live information session on the 2023 suspension application window at 10:30am on 26 July added to the 'Apply for a new duty suspension' section.

  11. An application form and a guidance document added to the 'Apply for a new duty suspension' section.

  12. New paragraph added to 'Apply for a new duty suspension' section setting out how to apply for new duty suspensions during the 2023 application window.

  13. The guidance under 'Apply for a new duty suspension' has been updated.

  14. UK Global Tariff section added to page.

  15. Removal of fish product quota information for order number 05.2795 as it no longer applies.

  16. Volume of autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) order number 05.2794 for 2023 added to ATQs for fish products section.

  17. The commodity code for SUS_206 has been amended due to a change in commodity code structure by the EU.

  18. Updated the outcome of 2021 duty suspensions. Updated the attached list of tariff suspensions on COVID-19 critical goods. Added an additional section on sunflower-seed oil.

  19. Clarification of comments on the list of business suspensions resulting from the 2021 application window. Natural honey changed to manuka honey in the list.

  20. Updated information on the outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window.

  21. Updates to the autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) sections.

  22. Page updated to include information on 2021 duty suspension applications, and an update on current autonomous tariff quotas.

  23. Updated guidance about the 2021 duty suspension application process.

  24. Linked to more detailed guidance on additional duties on imports from Russia and Belarus

  25. Additional duties on Russian and Belarusian imports to be entered into force on 25 March, with amended product list

  26. Additional duties on Russian and Belarusian imports

  27. Update on ATQ review of fish and raw cane sugar products.

  28. Additional sentence added at end of section 'Duty suspensions and tariff quotas'.

  29. Extension of the suspension of import duties on coronavirus (COVID-19) critical products.

  30. Added the objection form and a link to the notice which lists the requests received in the 2021 application window.

  31. Added guidance link for declaring goods you bring into Northern Ireland 'not at risk’ of moving to the EU. Updated application section to remove forms.

  32. Added subsection on the ATQ review.

  33. Added an accessible version of the application form.

  34. Updated with information about the application window for 2021 duty suspensions between 1 June 2021 and 31 July 2021.

  35. Added a link to the consultation on how the UK duty tariff suspension application process will work.

  36. Additions to links in current suspensions and quotas section, and addition of new section on European Commission Review for duty suspensions.

  37. Updated list of applications for duty suspensions and tarrif quotas, updated links to tariff quota regulations and duty suspension regulations

  38. Updated 'when you can apply' table, links to current suspensions and quotas, and list of duty suspensions expiring on 31 December 2016.

  39. Updated list of duty suspensions expiring on 31 December 2015, added suspension prolongation form and updated list of current suspensions/quotas.

  40. Added links to annual lists of automatic and non-automatic duty suspensions that will be renewed in 2013.

  41. Full update of guide.

  42. First published.