UK's post-Brexit tariff plan shows need for free trade deals: UK car body

FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen on the production line at Nissan's car plant in Sunderland Britain, October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s post-Brexit tariff plan, which maintains the EU’s 10% levy on car imports, shows the need for the country to secure free trade arrangements with major economies, an automotive industry body said on Tuesday.

The World Trade Organization allows nations to implement tariffs of up to 10% on cars brought in from abroad but many countries reduce or eliminate them through free trade deals, such as a pact struck between the European Union and Japan.

“Today’s announcement compounds the critical need for the UK to secure free trade agreements, starting with our biggest trading partner, the EU, but also with other key global markets, including the U.S., Japan and Turkey,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

While luxury and premium car brands may be better placed to pass on tariffs, mass manufacturers rely on tariff-free trade between Britain and the EU to maintain the viability of some of their operations.

“We must avoid any tariffs or barriers that add cost and reduce choice for consumers, and which would result in like-for-like barriers to export, undermining UK manufacturing competitiveness,” said Hawes.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Edmund Blair