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Around £30billion worth of goods will have their levies slashed under the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) regime after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31. The household products are currently marked up by up to three percent. But shoppers could be hit with higher prices on other items if a trade deal is not secured with Brussels.
This outcome is looking increasingly likely as talks between the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier continue to prove fruitless.
If a free trade agreement is not signed before the end of the year it could mean a 10 percent rise in the price of German cars for British buyers.
Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced the UKGT on Tuesday after Mr Frost accused the bloc of offering Britain a “low quality trade agreement”.
He said Eurocrats were seeking “unprecedented EU oversight of our laws”.
In a scathing letter to Mr Barnier, he criticised the EU for treating the UK different to how it treats other countries in trade discussions.
He said the bloc appeared to view Britain as “uniquely unworthy” of the concessions it had offered other partners.
Mr Frost urged his EU counterpart to ditch such tactics which he said showed the bloc favoured an “unbalanced and unprecedented” deal.
No10 published 10 separate “agreements” which Mr Frost had used in negotiations as templates for his desired deal.
He claimed the documents were based on trade deals struck between the EU and other countries.
But his claim was disputed by trade experts.
David Henig, director of the UK Trade Policy Project, expressed scepticism about the requests.
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He told The Times: “It is certainly more ambitious than the free trade agreements we claimed to be using as a guide.
“We seem to be disappearing down the same rabbit hole of equivalence as we did with the withdrawal agreement.”
In his strongly-worded letter sent on Tuesday, Mr Frost touched on three key areas on which both sides have so far failed to find common ground.
The EU is not willing to support a deal with similar terms to those in its trade pact with Japan and Canada.
Mr Barnier and his team are also digging their heels in on pressure to offer additional provisions it has offered to other countries.
Examples include the mutual recognition of conformity assessment with the US and Canada.
And when it comes to the “level playing field” demanded by the bloc, Mr Frost said the UK had made moves to prevent unfairness in trade.
He said the country had set out proposals to “prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages”.
But he claimed the demands of Brussels were “novel and unbalanced” and would result in the UK being bound to EU law or standards.
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