United Kingdom

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Coat of arms: the shield is quartered, depicting in the first and fourth quarters the three passant guardant lions of England; in the second, the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland; and in the third, a harp for Ireland. The crest is a statant guardant lion wearing the St Edward's Crown, himself on another representation of that crown. The dexter supporter is a likewise crowned English lion; the sinister, a Scottish unicorn. 

In the greenery below, a thistle, Tudor rose and shamrock are depicted, representing Scotland, England and Ireland respectively. This armorial achievement comprises the motto, in French, of English monarchs, Dieu et mon Droit (God and my Right), which has descended to the present royal family as well as the Garter circlet which surrounds the shield, inscribed with the Order's motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame on him who thinks evil).

Flag: the current design of the flag dates from the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801. It consists of the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England), edged in white, superimposed on the Cross of St Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which are superimposed on the Saltire of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland). Wales is not represented in the Union Flag by Wales's patron saint, Saint David, as at the time the flag was designed Wales was part of the Kingdom of England.

The flag's standard height-to-length proportions are 1:2.

 
 
  • Anthem: «God Save the King/Queen» is the national or royal anthem in a number of Commonwealth realms, their territories, and the British Crown dependencies. The author of the tune is unknown, and it may originate in plainchant; but an attribution to the composer John Bull is sometimes made.
  • Official languages: English.
  • Geographical location: is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with a sovereign state‍ —‌ the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to its east, the English Channel to its south and the Celtic Sea to its south-south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world.
  • Administrative divisions: consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For local government in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own system of administrative and geographic demarcation. The United Kingdom has sovereignty over seventeen territories which do not form part of the United Kingdom itself: fourteen British Overseas Territories and three Crown dependencies.
  • Capital: London.
  • Governance: The United Kingdom is a unitary state under a constitutional monarchy. The Queen is the monarch and head of state of the UK, as well as fifteen other independent countries. The Constitution of the United Kingdom is uncodified and consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions. The UK has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that has been emulated around the world: a legacy of the British Empire. The parliament of the United Kingdom meets in the Palace of Westminster and has two houses: an elected House of Commons and an appointed House of Lords. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own government or executive, led by a First Minister (or, in the case of Northern Ireland, a diarchal First Minister and deputy First Minister), and a devolved unicameral legislature. 
  • Population: 64 million.
  • Currency: Pound sterling.
  • GDP: $2,9 trillion.
  • Time zone: GMT +1.
  • Telephone code: +44.
  • Barcode: 50.

Trade and economic cooperation between Belarus and the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, with GDP of about $3 trillion, is one of the largest economies in the world and the second largest economy of the European Union.

In 2018, goods worth $673.1 billion were imported into the country (+5 percent to 2017). The 10 main import items accounted for more than 2/3 of all imports of the country.

The main import positions of the UK are:

  • Engineering products;
  • Computers;
  • Cars;
  • Oil and oil products;
  • Precious stones and metals;
  • Medicines;
  • Plastics;
  • Medical and technical equipment;
  • Metal products;
  • Woodworking products — furniture, panel products, lumber (up to finished houses).

In recent years, the UK has been one of the leading economic partners of the Republic of Belarus. In 2018, the UK took the third place among all countries after the Russian Federation and Ukraine in the export of Belarusian goods.

The United Kingdom is one of the main trading partners of the Republic of Belarus. Over the past few years, the UK has consistently ranked third in the export of Belarusian goods.

In 2018, trade amounted to $3 386.9 million (128.7% compared to 2017), exports — $3 072.9 million (129.0%), imports — $314.0 million (125 ,9%). The balance is positive — $2 759.0 million.

Leading export positions from Belarus to the UK:

  • Oil products;
  • Products of distillation of coal tar;
  • Bars of unalloyed steel;
  • Waste obtained from the extraction of other vegetable oils;
  • Untreated lead;
  • Furniture;
  • Liquid crystal devices and lasers;
  • Aluminum metal structures;
  • Products from ferrous metals.

Leading positions of imports from the UK to Belarus:

  • Piston internal combustion engines;
  • Strong alcoholic drinks;
  • Cars;
  • Medicines;
  • Parts and accessories for cars and tractors;
  • Turbojet engines;
  • Orthopedic appliances;
  • Electrical transformers;
  • Road and construction equipment;
  • Frozen fish.

The main articles of goods imported by the UK, which are related to the export opportunities of the Republic of Belarus (data from UN Comtrade database)

HS code

Name of product

Imports in 2018, US dollars

The excess of imports over exports

0201

Fresh or chilled beef

1 176 504 284

2.4 times

0405

Butter

481 180 464

1.3 times

0406

Cheese

2 248 121 312

2.5 times

2402

Tobacco

444 155 118

50.9 times

2710

Oil products

22 100 894 385

1.6 times

3004

Pharmaceutical products

16 659 449 093

0.88 times

3102

Nitrogen Fertilizers

674 115 805

9.1 times

3105

Mixed fertilizers

271 148 476

1.5 times

3901

Polyethylene

1 853 111 255

2.2 times

3926

Products from plastic

2 606 461 752

1.7 times

4011

Tires

2 945 113 434

3.7 times

4401

Wood fuel

1 531 987 516

45.3 times

4407

Longitudinally sawn timber

2 276 082 071

26.8 times

4409

Lumber

207 684 305

5.2 times

4410

Wood chipboards

351 919 726

6.2 times

4411

Fiberboard

435 820 097

15 times

4412

Glued plywood

766 046 535

16.3 times

4416

Barrels, cooper products

167 377 026

25.8 times

4418

Joinery and carpentry

993 031 300

10.8 times

4801

Newsprint

277 872 243

1.6 times

4819

Cardboard

1 038 329 736

2.4 times

6202

Women's outerwear

1 013 587 046

2.6 times

6403

Footwear

2 978 584 147

2.5 times

7214

Unalloyed steel bars

384 916 913

2 times

8418

Refrigerators

1 771 724 820

5.3 times

8544

Insulated wires, cables

4 649 659 607

2.7 times

8702

Buses

409 710 454

2.3 times

8704

Trucks

7 626 056 503

3.8 times

9403

Furniture

4 978 108 807

4.7 times

Highly developed agriculture and industry, combined with tariff measures and, above all, non-tariff regulation in the form of both pan-European and specific British requirements and standards, allow the UK to provide reliable protection for its own producer.

Together with high competition even at the level of local producers, as well as with particularly conservative consumer demand in the UK and Ireland, these circumstances partially complicate the full entry and consolidation of Belarusian producers, especially agricultural and food products, in the UK and Ireland markets.

In those product groups where certain opportunities exist, considerable work should be done by Belarusian enterprises.

Products of dairy enterprises that have passed EU certification have a certain prospect of promotion in the British market, subject to the additional receipt of the BRC certificate (British Retail Consortium) and the presence of a more competitive price compared to Polish counterparts.

In addition to the mandatory receipt of European and British certificates, ensuring the systematic presence of Belarusian goods in local retail chains requires the development and implementation of a sound marketing strategy, as well as constant participation in specialized exhibition and fair events.

In 2018, the export of Belarusian services to the UK amounted to $256.2 million (119.3% to the level of 2017). The balance of services was positive in the amount of $173.5 million. The main share in exports was made up of computer ($140.8 million), transport ($89.9 million), business ($12 million) and travel services ($3.7 million).

The United Kingdom ranks second (after the Russian Federation) in the amount of foreign direct investment attracted to the economy of the Republic of Belarus.

According to the results of 2018, the volume of direct investments from the UK to the Republic of Belarus amounted to $2,707 million (in 2017 — $2,456 million). The United Kingdom ranks second (after the Russian Federation) with 31.7 percent of total foreign direct investment in the Belarusian economy.

There are 228 organizations with British capital (126 joint, 102 foreign) created in Belarus. 

About 450 enterprises with British capital are registered in Belarus. There are three TPN entities of Belarusian exporters in the UK — BNK UK Ltd (a subsidiary of Belarusian Oil Company), a representative office of Belavia Airlines, a representative office of Adani UE — Adani Limited, a representative office of Development Bank of The Republic of Belarus.

The parties are currently preparing for the first meeting of the Trade Dialogue between the countries.

UK Foreign Trade Policy

On May 19, 2020, the British government published a new customs tariff - UK Global Tariff (UKGT), which will replace the currently applicable EU Common Customs Tariff and will enter into force on January 1, 2021.

On the special page of the unified state platform GOV.UK, any participant in foreign economic activity has the opportunity, by the HS code (up to 8 characters inclusive) or by the name of the product, to determine what rate of import customs duty will be applied to a particular product from January 1, 2021. By Each subheading it also provides information on the current rate of duty. The specific and combined rates of customs duties in the new tariff are set in pounds sterling.

UKGT is tailored to the specific needs of the UK economy and implies a significant reduction in tariff protection for the UK market.

Compared with the current EU tariff, approaches to setting duty rates (types, sizes) are simplified in the context of about 6,000 tariff lines, including zeroing all rates that do not exceed 2% in the EU tariff. The British side is also moving away from the complicated European Mersing table, which will simplify the calculation of duties for more than 13,000 items, including items such as cookies, waffles, pizza, quiche pies, pastries and spreads.

Zero duties are put on a wide range of goods. It is envisaged that 60% of products will be imported to the UK duty free in accordance with WTO rules or as part of preferential market access.

In particular, import customs duty rates for the following consumer goods are nullified:

  • dishwashers (current rate - 2.7%),
  • freezers (2.5%),
  • hygiene products (6.3%),
  • paints (6.5%),
  • screwdrivers (2.7%),
  • mirrors (4%),
  • scissors and clippers (4.7%),
  • padlocks (2.7%),
  • Christmas trees (2.5%),
  • cooking products such as baking powder (6.1%), yeast (12%), bay leaf (7%), ground thyme (8.5%) and cocoa powder (8%)

In addition, in order to support renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, duties on thermostats (2.1%), vacuum flasks (6.7%), LED lamps (3.7%), and bicycle inner tubes (4%) are reset to zero.

Almost all pharmaceuticals and most medical devices (including ventilators) will also be supplied to the UK market duty free. Nevertheless, for a number of medical goods, customs duties will remain, however, as part of the fight against the spread of Covid-19, they will be temporarily reset. This applies, in particular, to personal protective equipment and disinfectants.

In order to support British industry, UKGT maintains the current rates of import customs duties on agricultural products, including lamb, beef and poultry, cars (10%), ceramic products and fishery products. At the same time, in order to support the production established in the country, duties on imported raw materials and components totaling £ 30 billion, including copper alloy pipes (5.2%), screws and bolts (3.7%), are reset.

Duty rates will also remain unchanged in relation to a number of other commodity items in order to support the import of relevant goods from least developed countries using a system of tariff preferences.

Information on the volume of tariff quotas that will be applied from January 1, 2021 will be published additionally by the British side.

The reduction or zeroing of import customs duty rates will occur across a wide range of Belarusian goods exported to the United Kingdom, including certain petroleum products, coal tar distillates, nitrogen fertilizers, optical instruments, furniture, timber, aluminum rods and profiles, unprocessed lead and other large export items. This opens up additional opportunities for increasing exports to the UK of a wide range of Belarusian products, including those previously not supplied to the British market, which will become more competitive in price compared to European counterparts.

Parliament is continuing to consider the draft Trade Act, which is one of the key elements of the emerging UK trade policy. The document includes three important components:

  1. Provisions that will allow the United Kingdom to fulfill its obligations after joining the WTO Public Procurement Agreement (GPA) as a separate party (at the end of the transition period). The British government notes that joining the Agreement will maintain the country's “inclusion” in the global public procurement market, which is estimated at 1.3 trillion pounds. At the same time, an independent status will allow the country to independently decide which specific purchases will fall within the scope of the Agreement. At this stage, it is stated that the said document does not apply and will not apply to procurement in the healthcare sector. In general, by joining the Agreement, the government believes that trying to produce absolutely everything in the country in the modern interdependent world is inappropriate. Instead, it is necessary to ensure reliable supply chains from a wide range of foreign economic partners.
  2. Provisions that will enable the United Kingdom to fulfill its obligations under all bilateral trade agreements with third countries and trade blocs with which the European Union has concluded similar agreements until January 31, 2020.
  3. The creation of a new independent state body — the Trade Remedies Authority — designed to protect British businesses from unfair trade, including dumping and subsidies. The government has separately stated its intention, with the help of TRA, to combat subsidized state-owned enterprises and governments that will lobby for the supply of products of such enterprises to the British market.

At present, the UK has signed 20 bilateral trade agreements with countries and trade blocs that cover 48 states. The negotiation process with other partners continues.

Against the backdrop of a key discussion on a trade agreement with the EU, the first round of negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States was held in May, plans were announced to begin negotiations on a trade agreement with Japan in the near future. Next in line are Australia and New Zealand.

The goal set by the government is to ensure the implementation of 80% of foreign trade under free trade agreements over the next three years.

Currently, the EU is applying more than 100 safeguards to about 25 countries that affect approximately 0.5% of the integration union's imports. The UK plans to retain over 40 of these measures.

Additionally:

 

This article has been prepared on the basis of information provided by the National Centre for Marketing and Price Study of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Nothern Ireland, and taken from public sources. The information presented herein is for informative purposes only. In this regard, it may be useful for the companies, which have been working in the United Kingdom for a long time, as well as for those, which are going to enter this market. Any questions, feedbacks and comments concerning this article are welcome. All of them will be fully considered and taken into account, if possible. If you have any information that may be interesting and useful for the visitors of this page, please write to us.

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