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What could WTO tariffs mean for marine trade between the UK and EU?

Published on: 21 March 2018

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In last week’s Brexit update from British Marine, it published a short report (exclusively for member companies) on what a ‘No Deal’ scenario with the European Union could mean for the UK marine industry. The report - The Impact on the UK Leisure & Small Commercial Marine Industry of transitioning to World Trade Organisation Tariffs post-Brexit – provides an important overview on what these tariffs are, how they are applied and importantly what trading under them would look like for UK-EU trade.

This report is available exclusively for British Marine members and can be downloaded by visiting the the Brexit Section of the British Marine website (log-in details required).

If the UK leaves the EU in 2019 (or at the end of the transition period in December 2020) without a free trade agreement, British exports to EU member states will automatically defer to WTO trade rules and the UK will be subject to the ‘applied rate’ levied by the EU on external trading partners. In this scenario, Britain can either choose to levy the minimum duties on imported goods or it can charge a rate within the WTO’s ‘bound’ range for different goods. If the UK is to do the latter, it seems logical that it would seek to broadly match the duties levied by the EU.

The tariff rates analysed in this report use the minimum, maximum and average duties used by the EU when taxing external trade partners with whom they have no trade agreement. This report looks at the impact of these rates on both UK marine exports to EU member states and the impact of a reciprocal rate of taxation on EU imports to the UK, and is broken down into three distinct sections, looking at:

  • the EU’s WTO tariffs
  • the value of UK marine trade with the EU
  • the impact the application of these tariffs will have on this trade 

British Marine members with any questions on this report or on how British Marine is working to support its members during the Brexit negotiations may also contact Andrew Harries at