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New post-Brexit trade scheme will cut red tape to help with the cost of living


3 min read

No country has a monopoly on brilliant entrepreneurs. People with ideas, determination and commercial expertise can be found all over the planet.

Sadly, however, as the saying goes: talent is everywhere but opportunity is not.

If you live in a country facing challenges like conflict or entrenched poverty, building a successful business is particularly challenging. However, we know that businesses who export tend to do better than those who do not. So, it’s only right that we make it easier for entrepreneurs who risk being locked out of the global trading system to sell their goods to the world.

We have taken back control of our trade policy and are making decisions that back UK businesses

That’s why the government is launching the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS). The DCTS incentivises United Kingdom firms to buy more goods from exporters in developing countries. It does this by stripping away red-tape and cutting costs, including through over £750 million worth of tariff reductions. 

This government is committed to tackling rising costs and this scheme benefits businesses by creating greater choice and potentially lower prices for UK customers. From toys to tomatoes and clothes to cat food, reduced costs on everyday products will help with the cost-of-living challenges.

As an independent trading nation, we have taken back control of our trade policy and are making decisions that back UK businesses and help those struggling with costs this winter.

For instance, DCTS will remove seasonal tariffs that change throughout the year. This means that cucumbers that can’t be grown in this country in winter will now be tariff-free from more countries during the cold months. The scheme will also simplify complex trade rules that dictate what proportion of a product must be made in its country of origin, making it easier for businesses in developing countries to export.

Entrepreneurs in 65 countries, ranging from rose growers in Ethiopia to garment makers in Madagascar and bicycle manufacturers in Bangladesh, can benefit from opportunities because of this scheme. In turn, these nations will be able to play a bigger part in the global trading community, illustrating how the UK is harnessing its post EU freedoms to use trade as a force for good.

In fact, the DCTS is one of the most generous trade preferences schemes in the world. It allows the UK to go above and beyond what we could achieve while participating in the EU-run equivalent. It will ensure that 99 per cent of goods exports from 37 developing nations across Africa to the UK are duty-free.

The scheme also provides duty-free access for almost £4.5 billion of imports of clothing each year, £300 million of foodstuffs and millions of pounds worth of consumer products such as bicycles and children’s toys. More choice means easier access to everyday products at cheaper prices.

So the DCTS will be a real win-win for us all: at the same time as supporting our businesses, we are helping developing nations’ grow sustainable and independent economies. The DCTS is a mutually beneficial scheme that creates exciting trade opportunities around the world.


Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the Conservative MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and Secretary of State for International Trade.

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