UK reduces tariffs on pet food imports from LDCs

In order to provide products at a lower cost to UK consumers, the UK government is reducing tariffs on hundreds of imported products, including pet food and pet food ingredients, as it faces the post-Brexit trade ramifications. Launched earlier this month, the new Developing Countries Trading System (DCTS) goes further than the European Union’s (EU) Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), according to UK International Trade Secretary Anne- Mary Trevelyan.

Since Brexit, the UK has operated with its own GSP, which is similar to the EU version. DCTS will replace the current UK GSP in early 2023, covering 65 countries. It benefits least-developed countries (LDCs) the most, by offering duty-free and quota-free trade with the UK. It also offers the same for up to 85% of eligible products from most low-income and lower-middle-income countries. The full list of all countries is available in Annex 1 of the DCTS Government Policy Response.

New program also aims to reduce bureaucracy

The scheme also simplifies rules of origin, which dictate how much of a product must be made in one country before being imported into the UK. The aim is to reduce red tape for importers, encouraging companies to import from developing countries. Whereas previously product-specific rules for pet food (under HS code 2309 – preparation of a type used in animal nutrition) had to meet stricter requirements, the DCTS allows for a change of tariff heading, without any processing requirement. The product-specific rule schedule for DCTS can be found here.

A second aspect for the pet food industry to consider is the concept of cumulation, which allows materials produced in one country to be declared as originating in a different country, as long as the end product has been processed beyond minimum levels. Currently, GSP recipients can only accumulate in certain territories, such as the EU, Indonesia, and India, to name a few. The new policy extends cumulation to LDCs, allowing them to develop value chains of up to 95 countries now and continue to export to the UK duty free.

The UK imported over a million tonnes of pet food in 2021

Specifically for pet food, dog and cat food packaged for retail sale is no longer included in the Standard Preferential Tariff and is assessed at 0% in the Enhanced Preferential Tariff and Global Preferential Tariff. As the UK continues to expand its policies with regard to the involvement of global trade, there is great potential for pet food from developing countries to now enter the UK market.

For perspective, in 2021 the UK imported 1.02 million tonnes of pet food under HS code 2309, with over half of that amount for retail pet food, worth US$1.6 billion and US$1.2 billion, respectively, according to the UN Comtrade database.

Sipra is a researcher and writer. He writes and edits articles on climate, environment, business and management for academic and industry publications, such as GreenBiz.

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