The UK’s natural strengths lie in tertiary skills like marketing, communications, design, branding, creativity, product development, technology, innovation, financial markets and education. And now with Article 50 having been triggered, it is even more important, in my view that the UK plays to these natural strengths to stake a claim in the global market.
With this in mind, E2E (E2Exchange) are calling for the government to look at reduced or non-existent tariffs on the import of Asian and Far-East-manufactured goods that are inspired, branded, designed and manufactured under contract by, and indisputably owned by companies employing UK staff in the design, branding, creative, operations and/or marketing of these products.
The aim is to stimulate growth of British brands in the domestic market in as many sectors as viable. This means that a corresponding growth in GDP can be expected, as well as a rise in wages and employment in the sectors where the UK has exercised its natural strengths, as outlined above.
Some would argue the new tariff regulation proposal could introduce newly inspired Far-East competition with the UK, particularly in manufacturing, in industries where the UK has demonstrated natural strength – for example, high-tech, high-skill niche sectors or industries where there is still a potential cost benefit to the UK in manufacturing domestically.
Therefore, E2E’s proposal is that selected niche high-tech, high skill industry sectors where UK manufacturing needs further encouragement (e.g. the car industry) could temporarily, or even indefinitely be excluded from the nil/reduced tariff proposal.
Another possibility contained within the general proposal is a “surplus” benefit, which would promote the growth and stability of manufacturing in countries within the global market where the manufacture of UK brands is arranged, and aligned with natural strengths.
There would be opportunities to seek reciprocal agreements with identified manufacturing countries for beneficial or reduced tariffs on UK-produced goods that are exported from those countries – some of which contain rapidly developing, lucrative consumer markets of their own. In this case, growth in UK GDP and employment could be expected.
Additionally, in order to capitalise on the export potential arising from the accelerating onset of successful UK brands, a genuine opportunity for cross-trade tariff reductions may arise between the UK and other countries seeking to establish growth in industry sectors that are different from the UK-identified ones. For example, Japan could offer a UK tariff-free import deal on UK-produced cheeses, in return for tariff-free Japanese-made, high-end jeans exported to the UK.
In short, the proposed tariff reliefs offer lots of promise for UK businesses hoping to expand, particularly into the global market. The promise of collaboration could be high, as is the expectation of UK brands taking the world by storm.
Shalini Khemka is founder of E2Exchange