The United Kingdom will slash import taxes on hundreds of products from some of the world’s developing countries to boost trade links.
The Department for International Trade said on Monday the move was part of a wider push by Britain to use trade to “drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty”, as well as reduce dependency on aid.
The new initiative helps 65 developing countries and will affect around 99% of goods imported from Africa.
Clothes, shoes and foodstuffs – items that are not widely produced in the UK will benefit from lower or zero tariffs. Yet, goods and services from Africa make up just a minute share of the UK’s imports. African products account for 2.5% of the total goods imported into Britain.
Former colonies Rwanda, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa count UK as their one of their top 10 export destinations. Britain has been long criticized for undervaluing trade with Africa. Britain exports to Africa are minimal and this is also shrinking.
The Developing Countries Trading Scheme comes into force in January and builds on an initiative that the UK was first part of when it was a member of the European Union.