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Trade Update

Volume 712: debated on Monday 25 April 2022

On Thursday 21 April, I met His Excellency, Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, where we reached an agreement in principle that the UK will liberalise all tariffs on imports of Ukrainian origin under the UK-Ukraine political, free trade and strategic partnership agreement. This follows the commitment made by the Prime Minister in Kyiv that the UK would step up our economic support. This agreement in principle is in direct response to a request from the Government of Ukraine and is part of the UK’s commitment to their economic stability. Both countries are now completing the necessary processes to rapidly bring this into force.

The UK Government offered this policy on a non-reciprocal basis, with no expectation or ask of the Ukrainian Government in return. However, the Government of Ukraine has confirmed that their preference is to match our approach and they will fully liberalise their tariffs under the FTA with the UK, in order to maximise the economic benefit for Ukraine and to help secure their economic future.

Key details include:

Liberalising all tariffs under the Free Trade Agreement to zero on all goods originating from Ukraine which will provide economic support in their hour of need.

Our analysis shows that the average tariff on imports from Ukraine not already fully liberalised is currently around 22%. Removing these tariffs provides broad and deep support for the people of Ukraine.

In the unlikely event of a surge of Ukrainian imports into the UK market, I have put in place a broad safeguard mechanism to protect domestic industry.

These changes will be for an initial period of 12 months but include a simple process to agree an extension with Ukraine.

The Government will shortly lay a statutory instrument to amend our domestic legislation accordingly.

This approach is leading the world in how we support Ukraine, and I will encourage trade ministers in other countries to follow our direction. With that in mind, I will soon convene Trade Ministers from the G20 and other nations to continue the international effort to put pressure on Putin and support Ukraine.

On Thursday 21 April, we announced that the UK will bolster its sanctions against Russia by expanding the list of products facing import bans and increasing tariffs. With these new measures, the UK will be imposing import tariffs and bans on over £1 billion-worth of Russian goods. The new sanctions will include import bans on silver and high-end products from Russia including caviar, and tariff increases of 35 percentage points on a range of products from Russia and Belarus, including diamonds and rubber. These new measures follow on from the tariff increases imposed on goods from Russia and Belarus on 25 March, and a ban on the import of many iron and steel products from Russia on 14 April. Legislation will be laid in due course to implement these measures. We encourage all importers that use Russian imports to source alternative supplies. As with all sanctions, these measures will be kept under review.

Today, we also announce additional sanctions to continue putting pressure on Putin’s regime. These sanctions include expanding our existing strong export prohibitions and closing loopholes to ensure that the UK is not selling Russia products and technology which could be used to repress the heroic people of Ukraine.

As I made clear to Ambassador Prystaiko, the UK will do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion and ensure its long-term security and prosperity. We stand unwaveringly with Ukraine in this ongoing fight and will tirelessly work to ensure Ukraine survives and thrives as a free and sovereign nation.