UK suspends Global Tariff for flower exports

The UK government has temporarily removed the Global Tariff for cut flowers. The move will make trade with the UK easier and cheaper for growers in East Africa – including Ethiopia – and beyond.

Ethiopia is said to be the second largest cut flower producer in Africa – behind Kenya, making up 23 per cent of Sub-Saharan African exports. In 2023, the value of trade in cut flowers between the UK and Ethiopia was valued at £12.6m, Rwanda at £727,000, £839,000 from Tanzania, and £1.1m from Uganda.

The UK Global Tariff (UKGT) on cut flowers will be suspended for two years from 11 April 2024 to 30 June 2026.

The government statement reads that unlimited quantities of flowers can now be exported to the UK at a 0 per cent tariff, even if they transit via a third country. This is particularly important for East African flower growers, who transport their blooms predominantly via the auction in the Netherlands and airports in Belgium before they arrive in the UK.

The move aims to increase trade and further strengthen the economic relationship between the UK and the region. UK consumers could win big too – on price, seasonality and variety, the statement added.

The suspension of the 8 per cent duty on cut flowers applies worldwide, but it will be a big win for major flower-growing regions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The statement quoted the King’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, John Humphrey, saying: “The UK’s relationship with East Africa is rooted in mutually beneficial trade. This additional flower power will allow trade to bloom. We go far when we go together… or in this case, we grow far when we grow together, further reinforcing the UK’s commitment to the expansion of trade in East Africa.”

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