UKPIA is greatly concerned about the potential for the non-reciprocal reduction of import tariffs for goods in a No Deal Brexit scenario. This follows the statements of the International Trade Secretary, Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, at the Commons International Trade Select committee of 6 February. While acknowledging that no decision has been made, the Secretary of State flagged that the Government is still considering unilateral reductions on import duties.
UKPIA members - which supply 33% of the UK’s energy needs annually - trade internationally, reflecting integration in a highly optimised supply chain and the need to balance domestic supply and demand. This results in pre-tax prices of fuels amongst the lowest in Europe1. Any change to tariff rates will of course have some impact on the sector, however, the full liberalisation of tariffs on imported oil products, without any guarantee of UK exports being treated the same way, could seriously damage UK competitiveness with potential to lose highly skilled manufacturing jobs and long-term security of fuel supply.
Director-General of UKPIA, Stephen Marcos Jones said, “It is worrying that at this late stage of discussions on Brexit, that Government is even considering unilateral tariff reductions with the harmful effects this could have on our sector and the wider economy in the long-term. If UK companies do not have a level playing field in the highly competitive international oil market, then there is a serious risk that UK security of supply could, over time, be affected.
UKPIA and our members are clear that the best outcome is for tariffs to be zero for both imports and exports – thus keeping costs to the consumer down and keeping existing efficiencies in the supply chain. However, by incentivising imports without protecting UK domestic producers, we could be setting ourselves up for a long-term reliance on imports, weakening both security of supply and further eroding the UK’s important manufacturing sector.
Enquiries to: UKPIA Press Office, Tel. 020 7269 7605
- According to European Commission Data: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/data-analysis/weekly-oil-bulletin, accessed 11/2/2019
- UKPIA represents eight oil refining and marketing companies that operate the six major oil refineries in the UK and source over 85% of the transport fuels used.
- UKPIA’s No Deal Brexit analysis leaflet can be found at http://www.ukpia.com/docs/default-source/default-document-library/ukpia-no-deal-leaflet-nov-201871375d889f1367d7a07bff0000a71495.pdf?sfvrsn=0