UK Trade Tariff: duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas

Temporary duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas for importing goods into the UK.

Duty suspensions and autonomous tariff quotas

Duty suspensions are designed to help UK and Crown Dependency (Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey) businesses remain competitive in the global marketplace. They do this by suspending import duties on certain goods, normally those used in domestic production.

These suspensions do not apply to other duties that may be chargeable like VAT or trade remedies duty, such as anti-dumping duty.

Duty suspensions allow unlimited quantities to be imported into the UK at a reduced tariff rate. Autonomous tariff quotas (ATQs) allow limited quantities to be imported at a reduced rate.

Duty suspensions and ATQs are temporary and can be used by any UK business while in force. They are applied on a ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (‘MFN’) basis. This means that goods subject to these suspensions or quotas can be imported into the UK from any country or territory at the specified reduced tariff rate.

When more than one tariff concession applies, importers will wish to ensure that their goods are entered at the most advantageous rate.

Read guidance on declaring goods ‘not at risk’ of moving to the EU if you are importing goods subject to a duty suspension or an ATQ into Northern Ireland.

Current duty suspensions

Find the current duty suspensions and quotas using the Trade Tariff lookup tool.

Duty suspensions for products which previously existed in the UK under the EU suspensions regime have been carried over into the UK’s independent regime. They have been retained, provided they came into force before, or as part of, the EU’s July 2020 update to ensure continuity for UK businesses.

All current duty suspensions rolled over from the EU regime, including EU ATQs changed to duty suspensions, are extended until 31 August 2024.

Outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window

The government invited applications for duty suspensions between 1 June and 31 July 2021. A total of 232 applications were received and carefully considered.

The outcome of the 2021 window has now been finalised. Applicants have been updated on the outcome of their applications directly. These suspensions will take effect on 1 January 2023.

How we assessed applications in 2021

Applications needed to meet all of the following criteria:

  • applicants should have been based in the UK or Crown Dependencies
  • all completed application forms needed to be sent to no sooner than 1 June 2021, and no later than 11.55pm on 31 July 2021
  • UK and Crown Dependency businesses needed to demonstrate that they would have saved at least £10,000 in duties if the suspension had been in force in 2020 (2019 data could have been provided if businesses had been impacted by COVID-19)
  • the request should not have been for a product that is traded between related parties (defined in Regulation 8(4) of the Customs Tariff (Suspension of Import Duty Rates) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020), in circumstances which would mean other UK or Crown Dependency businesses cannot benefit from a suspension
  • the product or substitutable products could not be produced in the UK or Crown Dependencies, only produced in limited quantities, or production was temporarily insufficient (products other than raw products were taken to be produced in the UK or a Crown Dependency if they are partly or wholly manufactured in the UK or a Crown Dependency. Simple assembly operations, repacking products, or preparing products for shipment or transportation would not normally be considered production processes)
  • the product needed to be used in a production process or there needed to be a demonstration of a specific temporary need for the product

For applications that did not meet these criteria, applicants were requested to provide an explanation of why their application should be considered.

The government also assessed requests with regard to other relevant considerations, including:

  • international arrangements to which the UK is a party
  • relevant factors under section 8(5) of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018
  • how other government policies may be affected by the proposed duty suspension (such as trade remedies)
  • any circumvention risks due to tariff reclassification
  • the Public Sector Equality Duty

A notice of the applications that were made during the 2021 applications window was published. UK and Crown Dependency businesses had the opportunity to object to any requests.

Apply for a new duty suspension

The next application opportunity for duty suspensions will open in 2023. Additional details will be made available on this page in due course.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) critical products

The UK government implemented tariff suspensions on a number of medical items critical in the response to COVID-19 on 1 January 2021. In October 2021, the government also introduced additional suspensions on 14 COVID-19 vaccine components. The government has extended the suspension of import duties for the majority of these products until 31 December 2023. Three suspensions will expire for goods where there have been no imports under the suspensions (5603 91 10, 2905 44 11 00 and 2905 44 99 00). This is based on HMRC raw customs data for the period January 2021 to August 2022.

Sunflower-seed oil

The UK government will implement a tariff suspension on sunflower-seed oil on 1 January 2023 in response to supply chain disruption. This measure will take effect until 31 December 2024.

Current ATQs

The UK currently has 6 existing ATQs:

  • ATQs for fish products
  • one ATQ for raw cane sugar

Read more detail on these products:

ATQs for fish products

Four ATQs for fish products will continue at current volume levels until 31 December 2024. These will be reviewed ahead of that date.

We have opened an additional quota (order number 05.2795) for cold-water prawn products for the remainder of 2022, with a volume of 3,200 tonnes. This ATQ provides additional tariff-free access for products imported under order number 05.2794 is(which has a volume of 6,500 tonnes). ATQ order number 05.2794 will be set at 6,500 tonnes for 2023.

ATQ for raw cane sugar

The ATQ for raw cane sugar will continue at its current volume level (260,000 tonnes) until 31 December 2024. It will be reviewed ahead of that date.

ATQ analysis

The government carefully considered all relevant evidence when determining ATQ volume levels.

The government in making its decision had regard to all relevant considerations, including the principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, namely the:

  • interests of consumers in the United Kingdom
  • interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned
  • desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom
  • desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom
  • extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition

The government also endeavoured to:

  • balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK’s trade ambitions and free trade agreement agenda
  • maintain the government’s commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade

The government also considered our international obligations under section 28 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Contact us

For queries about tariff suspensions or ATQs, contact

Published 6 August 2012
Last updated 2414 JanuaryDecember 20232022 + show all updates
  1. Removal of fish product quota information for order number 05.2795 as it no longer applies.

  2. Volume of autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) order number 05.2794 for 2023 added to ATQs for fish products section.

  3. The commodity code for SUS_206 has been amended due to a change in commodity code structure by the EU.

  4. Updated the outcome of 2021 duty suspensions. Updated the attached list of tariff suspensions on COVID-19 critical goods. Added an additional section on sunflower-seed oil.

  5. Clarification of comments on the list of business suspensions resulting from the 2021 application window. Natural honey changed to manuka honey in the list.

  6. Updated information on the outcome of the 2021 duty suspension window.

  7. Updates to the autonomous tariff quota (ATQ) sections.

  8. Page updated to include information on 2021 duty suspension applications, and an update on current autonomous tariff quotas.

  9. Updated guidance about the 2021 duty suspension application process.

  10. Linked to more detailed guidance on additional duties on imports from Russia and Belarus

  11. Additional duties on Russian and Belarusian imports to be entered into force on 25 March, with amended product list

  12. Additional duties on Russian and Belarusian imports

  13. Update on ATQ review of fish and raw cane sugar products.

  14. Additional sentence added at end of section 'Duty suspensions and tariff quotas'.

  15. Extension of the suspension of import duties on coronavirus (COVID-19) critical products.

  16. Added the objection form and a link to the notice which lists the requests received in the 2021 application window.

  17. Added guidance link for declaring goods you bring into Northern Ireland 'not at risk’ of moving to the EU. Updated application section to remove forms.

  18. Added subsection on the ATQ review.

  19. Added an accessible version of the application form.

  20. Updated with information about the application window for 2021 duty suspensions between 1 June 2021 and 31 July 2021.

  21. Added a link to the consultation on how the UK duty tariff suspension application process will work.

  22. Additions to links in current suspensions and quotas section, and addition of new section on European Commission Review for duty suspensions.

  23. Updated list of applications for duty suspensions and tarrif quotas, updated links to tariff quota regulations and duty suspension regulations

  24. Updated 'when you can apply' table, links to current suspensions and quotas, and list of duty suspensions expiring on 31 December 2016.

  25. Updated list of duty suspensions expiring on 31 December 2015, added suspension prolongation form and updated list of current suspensions/quotas.

  26. Added links to annual lists of automatic and non-automatic duty suspensions that will be renewed in 2013.

  27. Full update of guide.

  28. First published.