UK Government scraps tariffs on imports of recycled plastics

Liz Truss
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss

Tariffs on imports of recycled plastics will be scrapped from 1 January 2021 under a new regime that has been revealed by the UK Government.

Currently, countries outside of the European Union must pay a 6.5% tariff when exporting recycled plastics into Member States.


When the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020, the UK Government has decided to implement its own tariff regime.

As a result, recycled plastics under the commodity code 3915 will no longer have a tariff applied to them from anywhere in the world.

However, those exporting plastics to the EU from the UK will have to pay the 6.5% tariff, which currently does not apply while the UK remains a member of the single market during the transition phase.

At present, no tariff is applied to imports of recycled paper, recycled glass and recycled metals and this will not change under the new regime.

These new measures have been announced as part of an overall UK Global Tariff regime.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “For the first time in 50 years we are able to set our own tariff regime that is tailored to the UK economy.

“Our new Global Tariff will benefit UK consumers and households by cutting red tape and reducing the cost of thousands of everyday products.

“With this straightforward approach, we are backing UK industry and helping businesses overcome the unprecedented economic challenges posed by coronavirus.”

The British Embassy in Ankara has also announced that the UK is aiming to introduce a free trade agreement with Turkey by the end of the year to maintain the current free trade agreement it has with the country via the European Union.

However, it isn’t yet clear whether a free trade agreement will be completed between the UK and EU before the end of the year, so the 6.5% tariff on plastics may still apply.

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