‘120 goods to have import tariffs paused ahead of SME event’

The UK Government has announced the suspension of import tariffs on various goods, including flowers, fruit juices, and chemicals, for a period of two years. This move is part of a £660 million investment fund aimed at boosting small businesses in the northern part of the country. The temporary withdrawal of duties is set to begin on April 11 and last until June 2026, benefiting importers of over 120 products from all countries.

Products such as agricultural inputs like juices, preparations, and starches, as well as non-agricultural goods like ceramics, leathers, and car parts, are among those that will see reduced import costs. The goal behind this initiative is to make small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) more competitive on a global scale.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake highlighted the importance of supporting SMEs to grow and thrive, especially since they make up a significant portion of businesses in the UK. This tariff suspension scheme was introduced in December 2020 post-Brexit, allowing companies to request the temporary suspension of duties.

In addition to the tariff suspension, the British Business Bank will launch a new fund to provide loans and equity to SMEs in the northern region of England. This announcement comes as the Government faces criticism over delays in its efforts to address regional inequalities.

The upcoming SME Connect event will bring together 150 SMEs and business groups from across the UK, providing them with advice on regulations, artificial intelligence, finance, skills, and education. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil reforms to support small businesses and increase apprenticeships in his upcoming economic speech.

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