Developing Country Trade Access after Brexit: The UK’s Plans for the Generalized System of Preferences

This paper looks at what the UK’s approach to tariffs will mean for developing countries’ access to the UK market, and whether the government will achieve its pledge to improve access post-Brexit. It includes a rapid assessment of the structure and the functioning of the future UK Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), in so far as it has currently been announced, and considers, in particular, how the newly announced UK Global Tariff will impinge on developing countries. In addition, it evaluates the loss in market access for Ghana and Kenya if they and the UK fail to rollover their existing EU Economic Partnership Agreements or Market Access Regulation provisions. It finds that, in terms of tariffs, access will not improve for the vast majority of (95) developing countries, though neither are their exports materially damaged. It considers scenarios where the UK can reduce tariffs for developing countries, identifying over 1,000 GSP tariffs that could be reduced without materially harming imports from the poorest countries.

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