Category Archives: Uncategorized

MTRA comments on Brexit and UK/Ireland border issues

The MTRA has today submitted comments to the Prosperity UK/Alternative Arrangements Commission consultation on their interim report “Alternative Arrangements for the Irish Border‘.

MTRA has significant concerns that issues relating  to the enforcement of differential tariffs (including trade remedies) are underestimated in the report.  While MTRA welcomes the report as contributing to the debate on possible solutions to the UK/Ireland border issue, the system proposed is unprecedented and experimental.  It is not clear that such an ambitious system could work meaning that there would be grave risks of circumvention of trade remedies and other differential UK and EU trade measures.

MTRA reponse to AAC consultation (final)


British manufacturing sounds alarm bells at zero tariffs

20th February 2019

Business leaders and trade unions are warning Government to stop gambling with Britain’s world-leading manufacturing sectors, and dismiss talk of zero tariffs.

The Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance, (MTRA) made up of eight national trade associations three trade unions and the TUC, is calling on politicians to rethink plans for a wholesale reduction in import tariffs.

In the event of a no-deal, politicians are considering zero most favoured nation tariffs to lower prices on consumer goods, but the move could ruin the home market for many sectors. Increased imports would flood the market, jeopardising tens of thousands of jobs and fundamentally changing the British economy.

Ian Cranshaw, Head of International Trade at the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) said: “The idea of a new tariff regime is something which should be subject to proper consultation. With less than 40 days to Brexit British manufacturers already dealing with Brexit uncertainties are now having to assess how their business might be impacted by an increase in non-EU competition should the government remove MFN tariffs on key chemical products.

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary, said: “Zero tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit is a short-sighted move. While it may lower prices in the short term, it will ultimately put thousands of British manufacturing jobs at risk.

“Manufacturers are often based in the heart of their communities and supporting many more indirect and supply chain jobs.
“Zero tariffs could destroy the proud history of making and manufacturing in Britain.”

Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation and Chair of the Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance, said: “Government needs to consult properly with businesses and trade unions. Jobs, communities and the economy are at stake. This cuts to the heart of the sort of country we want.

“Our domestic market would be jeopardised at the same time as our export markets would be subject to additional tariffs, for example 12% on tableware going into Europe, where previously it would have been zero.

“No tariffs makes the UK’s emerging trade remedies system ineffective from the outset by lowering the duty paid on dumped imports.

“MTRA member companies and unions are asking Government to act to secure this vital part of the economy, in the event of a no-deal Brexit and reconsider zero-tariffs.”

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Ending all tariffs in a no deal Brexit would be a further hammer blow to our manufacturing industries and the communities they support.

“Government must not show such reckless disregard for people’s jobs.

“The Prime Minister must act now to rule out a no-deal Brexit and ditch her destructive red lines, which threaten working people’s jobs and rights.”



Notes to Editors

About Us

The Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance (MTRA) is made up of the following organisations:

Agricultural Industries Confederation; British Ceramic Confederation; British Glass; Chemical Industries Association; Confederation of Paper Industries; Mineral Products Association; Renewable Energy Association; UK Steel; Community; GMB; TUC; and Unite

For further information please contact: 

Ciara Jagger, Publicity and Project Officer, c/o British Ceramic Confederation, Federation House, Station Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2SA.

Tel:  01782 572851 M: 07535 084055

MTRA members give evidence to International Trade Committee on TRA


Laura Cohen, Cliff Stevenson and Rosa Crawford give evidence to the International Trade Committee

Laura Cohen, Chief Executive, British Ceramic Confederation, Cliff Stevenson, Consultant to Trade Remedies Alliance, and Rosa Crawford, Policy Officer, EU International Relations, TUC today gave evidence on the TRA to the International Trade Committee.

This included an overview of the EU’s trade defence system from perspective of business and trade unions, TRA decision-making and governance, concerns over economic interest and public interest tests, role of Secretary of State, lack of detail in primary legislation and concerns over secondary legislation.

Link to video
Link to transcript

MTRA submits written evidence on TRA to International Trade Committee

Evidence submitted included the structure and functions of TRA, the balance between primary and secondary legislation, TRA decision-making, membership of the TRA, reporting to Parliament, appointments to the TRA, Secretary of State guidance, complicated decision-making around economic interest and public interest tests, staffing and other functions, and appeals.

MTRA Written Evidence

MTRA members give evidence on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill

Gareth Stace, Laura Cohen, Ian Cranshaw

MTRA members gave evidence on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill.  This included an outline of the EU trade remedy system, difference between strong trade remedies and protectionism, concerns with proposed UK trade remedy system, balance between primary and secondary legislation, transition of existing EU measures, proposed public and economic interests, lesser duty rule, state distortions and dumping methodology, timescales, engagement with DIT.

Trade Union Members of the MTRA also gave evidence at the same session (Kathleen Walker Shaw (GMB), Ben Richards (Unite the Union) and Rosa Crawford (TUC)).

Video (Trade Association Members of MTRA)
Video (Union Members of MTRA)

MTRA members give evidence on trade bill

Gareth Stace, Tom Reynolds and Cliff Stevenson

Tom Reynolds (BCC), Gareth Stace (UKSteel) and Cliff Stevenson (consultant to MTRA) gave evidence on the requirements for an effective trade remedies authority, appeals process, lack of detail in the bill, composition of members of TRA, role of trade remedies, reporting to Parliament, risks of inadequate protection against unfair trade, trade remedies and free trade agreements, other functions of TRA, and impact of trade remedies on prices.


Letter to FT on effective trade remedies


New bill must establish effective ‘trade remedies’

Sir, In the Queen’s Speech the government committed to a trade bill in order to “cement the UK’s leading role as a great, global trading nation, whilst ensuring UK businesses are protected from unfair trading practices”.

It is refreshing that the government has committed to the need to address unfair trade practices. In the past, the UK government has often been highly resistant to EU anti-dumping duties. Ministers and officials have mistakenly conflated protection with protectionism. The World Trade Organisation’s rules allow members to take action against unfair activities by trading partners, such as subsidised exports and predatory pricing, when domestic industry is damaged. These rules exist to protect genuine free trade, not hinder it.

We hope the inclusion of “trade remedies” within the trade bill marks a change in the government’s approach. Our organisations represent hundreds of UK manufacturing businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers and are calling for strong post-Brexit trade remedies. The trade bill must establish a system that fully alleviates any injury to UK manufacturing caused by dumping, and it must be supported by the appropriate government infrastructure.

The congested parliamentary timetable means there may only be one chance to pass the trade bill, and the hung parliament means it must command cross-party support. Therefore it’s imperative that the voice of valued manufacturing businesses and their employees is heard by the government and all parliamentarians. The trade bill must work for British industry and workers.

David Caffall
Agricultural Industries Confederation

Dr Laura Cohen
British Ceramic Confederation

Dave Dalton
British Glass

Steve Elliott
Chemical Industries Association

Andrew Large
Confederation of Paper Industries

Roy Rickhuss

Jude Brimble

Dr Richard Leese
Mineral Products Association

Gareth Stace
UK Steel

Tony Burke
Unite the Union

Financial Times 1 July 2017