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US suspends tariffs on UK fashion and textile exports

Tom Bottomley
04 March 2021

The United States has today agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs on direct exports from the UK to the US resulting from the long-running Airbus-Boeing dispute.

The list of products that attracted a 25% tariff included UK-made cashmere jumpers, anoraks, swimwear, and bed linen. The four-month suspension of the tariffs will come in to force on 8 March 2021, backdated to today, 4 March.

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “I am delighted that the US Airbus tariffs have been suspended for UK exporters. The tariffs have cost UK fashion businesses dearly over the past year at a time when trade was already extremely challenging. We have been working very closely with the Department of International Trade on this issue and we will continue to work with them to reach a permanent solution.”

Simon Cotton, Chief Executive of Johnstons of Elgin, the largest manufacturer of cashmere knitwear in the UK, and a board member of UKFT, commented: “We are delighted to see these additional Airbus-Boeing tariffs suspended and hope this will lead to a permanent removal of the tariffs in time for our main shipping season, later in the year.

“We have absorbed these tariffs for the last year, which has been a very significant cost to our business at a challenging time. This is extremely welcome news and gives us much greater confidence to pursue the growth opportunity which the US market continues to represent.”

Bill Leach, Global Sales Director at British knitwear brand John Smedley, added: “We can breathe a huge sigh of relief that, for at least the next four months, our US business is so much more viable than it was yesterday. We have absorbed these tariffs – almost treble what they would be normally – for more than a year, which is particularly hard given the challenges of the market in the UK and overseas. We hope that the two governments will make this a permanent solution.”

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