Background

The United Kingdom announced this week the launch of its new Developing Countries Trading Scheme, which will extend tariff cuts to hundreds more products exported from developing countries than provided for under the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

As an independent trading nation following its withdrawal from the EU, the UK is “taking back control of our trade policy and making decisions that back UK businesses, help with the cost of living, and support the economies of developing countries around the world,” said UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan. “UK businesses can look forward to less red tape and lower costs, incentivising firms to import goods from developing countries.”

According to a UK press release, the DCTS covers 65 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. It will add to the thousands of products developing countries can already export to the UK duty-free and will result in zero or low duties on “a wide variety of products - from clothes and shoes to foods that aren’t widely produced in the UK including olive oil and tomatoes.” The scheme will also remove some seasonal tariffs and simplify rules of origin, thus “encouraging developing countries to play a larger role in the global trade community.”

The press release notes that the DCTS is part of a wider push by the UK to drive a free trade, pro-growth agenda across the globe. This drive includes a new initiative called Platinum Partnerships that is designed to grow trade between the UK and selected lower and middle-income Commonwealth countries and reduce dependency on aid. The UK also recently announced a new Trade Centre of Expertise that will bring together the best of British expertise to give partner governments tools to more actively participate in the global trading system.

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