Image: Tristan Taussac/Flickr Image: Tristan Taussac/Flickr

The UK will maintain trade penalties currently imposed by the European Union on good such as Chinese car tyres, ceramics and steel after Brexit.

The EU currently applies penalties to 43 products that are deemed to be traded unfairly, and the UK government has confirmed it will maintain those tariffs regardless of whether or not its leaves with a deal.

In a statement, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: "The decision on whether to maintain measures was based on whether those measures mattered to the UK. We are scrapping measures that don't significantly benefit British businesses and this will see savings for people throughout the country."

Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said: "What's crucial is what's missing from the Government's announcement today.

"We still do not know what they are going to do with those underlying, most favoured nation tariffs, onto which trade remedies are added.

"If Government drops these to zero in a no-deal Brexit, then ceramic tiles and tableware, and many thousands of other goods manufactured in this country will be in jeopardy, because a flood of imports will cause untold damage to our domestic markets."

The steel industry welcomed the move, but warned that the UK is not equipped to deal with trade issues post Brexit.

Director General of UK Steel, Gareth Stace, said: "Even a highly experienced authority would struggle with the sheer volume and complexity of reviewing all the transitioned measures, implementation of the UK's new steel safeguards as well as taking on a brand new investigations into dumping and subsidies.

"UK steel producers are at risk of exposure to unfair trading practises whilst the fledgling Trade Remedies Authority wrestles with this mammoth task and plays catch-up with its EU counterpart."