Remainer Lord Hannay is wrong about EU tariffs on African imports

Remainer Lord Hannay is wrong about EU tariffs on African imports

There was an interesting argument in the House of Lords last week. Last Wednesday, April 18th, Viscount Ridley was speaking against the various wrecking amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill when Lord Hannay interrupted him:

“I just want to ask the noble Lord where he gets his idea that being in a customs union with the European Union will mean imposing tariffs on Africa when the European Union has zero tariffs on all African countries.”

Lord Ridley responded:

“The European Union has an external tariff. It applies to not all products from Africa, admittedly, but to a considerable number.” [emphasis added]

Lord Ridley is correct. There are still plenty of tariffs against imports from African countries. To give some examples, consider the tariffs that the UK is obliged to apply to imports from Nigeria (as indeed are France, Germany and every EU member state). These include, among others:

  • 15% tariffs on live animals
  • 26% on meat and edible meat offal
  • 31% on dairy produce, birds’ eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin not elsewhere specified or included
  • 12% on edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers
  • 18% on products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten
  • 23% on preparations of fish and meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates
  • 28% on sugars and sugar confectionery
  • 18% on preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants
  • 19% on tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes

And so on.

More details can be found here.

As another example, consider this screenshot showing UK tariffs on certain categories of orange imports (accessed April 22nd 2018):


Note the date: 22nd April 2018.

Scroll down and we find:

  • Egypt: a tariff of 45.90 Euros/100 kg
  • Morocco: a tariff of 56.20 Euros/100 kg
  • Tunisia: a tariff of 65.90 Euros/100 kg

Meanwhile, Gabon, Nigeria and the Republic of Congo are subjected to the EU’s general orange tariff of 64.40 Euros/100kg.

The tariff schedules are there for all to see, and these are current tariffs.

The claim that there are no EU tariffs against imports from African countries is demonstrably false.

The fact is that the EU still has tariffs against imports from African countries – and way too many of them too.