The United Kingdom (UK) has unveiled an international trade arrangement aimed at improving access of goods from developing countries, including Malawi, into its market with lower tariffs.
The UK will replace the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) with current Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan launched the new trading scheme which will extend tariff cuts to products exported from developing countries, going further than the EU’s GSP.
This is on top of the thousands of products which developing countries can already export to the UK duty-free.
The scheme ensures that British businesses can benefit from more than £750 million per year of reduced import costs, leading to more choice and lower costs for UK consumers to help with the cost of living.
In a statement, Trevelyan says the scheme means that a wide variety of products will benefit from lower or zero tariffs.
“As an independent trading nation, we are taking back control of our trade policy and making decisions that back UK businesses, help with the cost of living, and support the economies of developing countries around the world.
The DCTS covers 65 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas including some of the poorest countries in the world.
It removes some seasonal tariffs, meaning more options for British supermarkets and shops all year round.
Local private sector mouthpiece, the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the government say Malawi is best-positioned to reap from the new arrangement.
MCCCI President Lekani Katandula Tuesday rated the move as ideal for local exporters as it guarantees a stable market in the UK.
“This is a good a development which will benefit our existing exporters to the UK and give them a better growth opportunity.
“It could also spur others that are not currently exporting to the UK to explore this market which is great as we seek greater diversity in our business markets for growth and sustainability,” Katandula said.
Malawi’s key exports to the UK include cane sugar, coffee, tea, spices, edible vegetables and fruits, nuts, oil seeds, textiles.
Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said Malawi is eligible for the new UK scheme and the country is positioned cultivate market access opportunities by focusing on facilitating linkages between exporters and UK buyers, among other things.
“We are also positioning emerging crops such as Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis for the UK Market. The Ministry is working closely with key institutions such as MITC, Ministry of Agriculture, MCCCI and MBS to enhance for instance our National Quality infrastructure to support the private sector in improving quality of products so that they easily meet export requirements and standards and to enhance their productivity for instance through Mega farms,” Msokera said.
The UK scheme also simplifies complex trade rules such as rules of origin —the rules dictating what proportion of a product must be made in its country of origin.
It makes it easier for businesses like family-owned textile business DBL Group from Bangladesh to export, encouraging developing countries to play a larger role in the global trade community.
This work is part of a wider push by the UK to drive a free trade, pro-growth agenda across the globe, using trade to drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty.