Ceramics manufacturers and local politicians have declared the new UK Global Tariff a major victory for the industry, and a vital step towards securing its future in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) yesterday published the UK Global Tariff, which will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff as the main document governing the UK’s trade around the world, on 1st January 2021.
More than 60% of trade coming into the UK will be tariff-free, ensuring lower prices for consumers on a whole range of goods. DIT announced three major exceptions to this, however, in order to support British manufacturers and defend them from unfair foreign competition: agricultural products, cars, and – most importantly – ceramics.
Jason Simms and Andy Tooth, directors of Heraldic Pottery and Duchess China 1888, said, “Having worked in ceramics for decades, including 22 years running our own business, we have experienced the many highs and lows which the industry has gone through. One thing which hasn’t changed is the quality of the products our region produces. We are delighted that this has been recognised in the new Tariff, and it gives us the confidence to keep producing our wares safe in the knowledge that we aren’t being undercut by cheap, inferior imports.”
Jack Brereton, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, said, “Our terrific ceramics manufacturers produce world-class goods, with a quality which comes from generations of specialist knowledge and skills. Free trade is good for consumers and is a huge opportunity to sell more of the world-class product we produce, but it was clear that ceramics needed extra protection from the dumping of second-rate products on our market by China and other countries. I’m delighted the Government has listened to us, and that our industry has got the protection it deserves.”
Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said, “As the natural home for ceramics, this announcement will strengthen Stoke-on-Trent’s place as a business leader and will provide welcome assurance for workers employed in the industry at the heart of our potteries economy. In answer to my question in the House of Commons yesterday, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon. Michael Gove said there will be ‘new opportunities’ for the ceramics sector. The Government are taking notice of Stoke-on-Trent and our successful ceramics industry, which is an extremely positive sign for our future possibilities.”
Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke, said, “Stoke-on-Trent is synonymous with ceramics, interwoven throughout history you can hardly mention one without the other. When I became the MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke, the protection and expansion of this industry became fundamental to my work as a representative. I am glad to see the Government unashamedly supporting British potteries by retaining tariffs on ceramic imports, ensuring the market remains of the highest calibre and protecting the industry from second class imported products.”