I believe that the TCA, which provides for zero tariffs and no quotas on trade in goods between the UK and the EU, is an historic achievement that ensures a close and friendly trading partnership with the EU, while also allowing us the freedom to conduct our own trade policy and diverge from EU regulations.
The TCA makes provision for co-operation and exchange of information in relation to VAT, with specific focus on combatting fraud. However, it does not contain provisions on VAT treatment for particular goods, and British buyers must pay import VAT on shipments worth over £135. This ensures that goods from EU and non-EU countries are treated in the same way, and that British businesses are not disadvantaged by competition from VAT-free imports.
The Government provides comprehensive support to all traders moving goods into Northern Ireland, and unfettered access is ensured for goods entering Great Britain from Northern Ireland. For smaller businesses trading with the EU, the Government has announced a £20 million support fund, from which businesses will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 for practical support and professional advice. I believe this will help businesses that trade with Northern Ireland or the EU to adjust to the TCA and navigate its provisions.
I am encouraged that the Department for International Trade is also making progress on trade deals with a number of non-EU trading partners, which will open up a range of new markets around the world to British businesses, cutting tariffs and non-tariff barriers alike. The Trade Act, which recently became law, lays the groundwork for these future agreements, allowing the UK to put them onto the statute books when they are ratified.