March 6, 2019 / 8:30 AM / 20 days ago

UK faces tough choice over tariffs in event of no deal Brexit - minister

Britain's Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark gives a speech at the EEF National Manufacturing conference, in London, Britain, February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will face a very difficult choice on whether to impose tariffs on imported goods if it leaves the European Union without a deal, business minister Greg Clark said on Wednesday.

Britain currently has tariff-free access to EU markets but its exports will automatically face tariffs if it leaves on March 29 without a transition deal. The government will then have to decide whether to impose reciprocal tariffs on imports from the EU.

“That’s a very difficult choice,” Clark told BBC TV. “Either you are making things more expensive that previously came in tariff-free from the EU, or in some cases – some industries like the ceramics industry, for example, that is subject to a lot of very cheap, unfairly cheap we think, imports from China - that could undermine the industry.”

“There is a very difficult set of choices that have to be made if we were to leave without a deal.”

Reporting by Kate Holton and David Milliken. Editing by Andrew MacAskill

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