Unite, the UK’s largest union representing manufacturing workers, accused government ministers of considering ‘economic vandalism’ after it emerged that the international trade secretary Liam Fox is considering reducing tariffs on all imports to zero in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

According to reports the UK trade secretary revealed his idea at a meeting with representatives of the ceramics industry on Monday (4 February).

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Reducing tariffs to zero on all imports in the event of a no deal Brexit would be an act of economic vandalism that would threaten jobs and leave UK manufacturers competing with both hands tied behind their backs.

“The UK’s steel industry was pushed to the brink because the dumping of cheap Chinese steel, while our tyre industry is fighting for survival in the face of inferior alternatives flooding the market from overseas.

“If Liam Fox gets his way then whole swathes of British industry could be taken out as cheaper inferior products flood the UK, while at the same time British manufacturers face crippling tariffs.

“The government needs to come to its senses, take a no deal Brexit off the table and secure tariff free frictionless trade with Europe.”


For more information please contact Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869 alex.flynn@unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.