Trade, Tax and Regulation

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Shipping is vital to the UK economy with 95% of goods imported into the UK arriving by ship. Shipping helps ensure that goods people need reach them when expected and has proven its resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. Below you can read our priorities for ensuring we keep a regulatory environment that helps UK shipping support the wider economy. 

Customs checks 

Maintaining the fluidity of trade passing through our borders is essential for the UK’s economic growth. It’s vital we have a long-term solution for administering trade that focuses on overcoming barriers for all types of businesses.

Government plans to develop ambitious digital solutions via the creation of a National Trade Single Window and to review existing checks, including safety and security declarations, are welcome and should be completed as quickly as possible. These new plans must also work with operators who made preparations for previously planned controls to come into force to avoid the risk of existing investment going to waste. 

Freeports 

The shipping industry wants to help maximise the success of free ports, which are a bold and dynamic initiative.

A key principle of freeports must be that they deliver new economic growth and jobs rather than simply transferring prosperity from one area of the country to another.  Without this we risk marginalising areas of the maritime sector and limiting its contribution to the wider economy.

Tonnage Tax 

Tonnage Tax is a vital component of ensuring shipping in the UK remains as a global centre for shipping business.

It directly supports over 50,000 jobs in the shipping sector and hundreds of millions of pounds of tax revenue. Alongside these wider economic benefits it also ensures that hundreds of UK cadets are trained each year.

We are always open to discussing further improvements that can be made to ensure that the scheme is working as intended and helping to promote UK shipping.

What is Tonnage Tax? 

Tonnage tax is a form of Corporation Tax for working out the tax shipping companies owe on profits. Companies must commit to a minimum training obligation as a precondition of electing into the tonnage tax regime. 

Trade deals 

Growing UK trade across the world must be a top priority and shipping is ideally placed to help maximise the opportunities from new trade deals. Key targets for trade deals should include major economies where the UK does not have an existing trade deal in place as well as emerging economies where the UK should be aiming to conclude trade negotiations more rapidly than it could as a EU member. 

To help ensure shipping is best placed to deliver on new trade opportunities new trade deals must include access to maritime services.