Tariffs will be cut to zero on 87 per cent of imports to the UK as part of a temporary no-deal plan, but prices of some imports including meat, shoes, underpants and cars will go up.
A spokesman for Ford UK warned that the tariffs would “deal a devastating blow to much of the complex and integrated automotive industry, and would damage the competitiveness of Ford’s engine manufacturing in the UK”.
While some tariffs will protect farmers producing meat, other sectors of farming will have low or no tariffs.
The National Farmers’ Union President, Minette Batters, said that eggs, cereals, fruit and vegetables would not receive any protection under the plans.
The plans would see the current tariff rate on oranges cut from 16 per cent to zero per cent, the rate for onions down from 9.6 per cent to zero per cent and the tariff on imported televisions down from 14 per cent to zero per cent.
Among other consumer goods that will be hit are imports of beef, prices of which will go up by almost seven per cent, cheddar cheese, up by about £20 per 100kg, and imported (finished) cars, which would attract a 10.8 per cent levy, or about £1,500 for an average new car.
Tins of tuna could go up by 24 per cent, imported men’s wool jackets by 12 per cent, and men’s, women’s and girls’ underpants made of synthetic fibre by 12 per cent.
The prospect is alarming many employers as the 29 March departure date looms large. The Government’s no-deal tariff plan, which would last for up to 12 months, would seek to keep prices down for consumers while also minimising job losses among manufacturers in the world’s fifth-biggest economy.