Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Ethical credentials for free, scraped-together from the country where a product is made

The pages are set-up already by my shopping cart software which expects them to be used for brands or manufacturers, but I don't have much for sale with a known brand name on it, so the pages were going spare.  Under each list of scores I write
  • "more than a vegan shoe brand, but these costs reduce what's left for brand advertising, PR & packaging for smart retail, rapid style changes and air freight, new moulds, or fiddly sewing. You can draw your own brand, like a smiley face or a black spot or something if you want."
This is a great relief to someone who is used to getting ethical credentials for free just by writing "vegan" on a product on a home made web site, next to "wash at 40 degrees" or "postage three pounds". Other producers have always had a tougher job trying to justify one factory in Bangladesh as being a better employer than another factory in Sri Lanka. If we know where a product was made we can compare free information about each country, just so long as someone has done the work already and put some kind of number on it. Not that there is a number for human rights in China because that country is off the bottom of the scale, but most countries have a number.

For a long time, I didn't know that a human rights index existed and I think it's quite new. Mary Creagh mentioned it on a video of the Environmental Audit Committee that I sat-through, and I immediately stole the idea. Another came soon after on a Make it British virtual trade show where Mr Nieper of David Nieper Ltd gave a video speech about his company's carbon emissions, as reported by Nottingham University who realised that electriciy units take more CO2 to make in China than in the UK. The UK v China CO2 emmission report is buried on the David Niaper Ltd web site, but after some googling I found the International Energy Agency. It shows each country scored on a few boxes. The ratio of electriciy output to CO2 produced making electricity is a simple number, in some unit or other.

SSA.gov in the USA was a previous google discovery. It publishes a concise guide to the social security system, if any, in each country and adds a list of government spending on headings like health and education. The guide seems to come from the International Social Security Association, who have a permanant link for each country but a much slower web site and a series of drop-downs for each one that makes it impossible to glance at; you have to know what you're looking for before you can find it. So I have stuck to SSA.gov and their information pages called a "world factbook", published by the CIA.

Monday, 23 March 2020

UK government forms for medical and emergency procurement

The UK government has no database of UK manufacturers.
They have two forms to show interest in providing medical or emergency goods and services.
  • The first is general including personal protective equipment like face masks
  • The second is for ventilators. I guess that manufacturing quickly in the UK is what they're most interested in; there is a "where" box next to each item on the second form.

Goods and Services Assistance: COVID-19 - smartsurvey.co.uk/s/l5b32s or



  • Food
  • Hotel Rooms for any use
  • Hotel Rooms for lodging
  • Manufacturing equipment
  • Medical Equipment -
  • PPE Medical Equipment -
  • Testing equipment Medical Equipment -
  • Other Office space for any use
  • Warehouse/Industrial space
  • Other (please provide a description of these goods):


  • Community Support
  • Consultancy for Medical Equipment
  • Design Consultancy - other
  • Construction expertise
  • Engineering expertise
  • IT services expertise
  • Manufacturing expertise
  • Medical expertise
  • Project management / procurement expertise
  • Social Care
  • Transport - logistics or courier
  • Transport - people
  • Other (please provide a description of these services)


  • Do you already produce regulated ventilators that are used in a UK clinical setting i.e. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), approved with a CE mark?
  • Have you made parts or systems for ventilators:
  • for human use in clinical setting? Yes No
  • for use in veterinary setting? Yes No
  • use in any other setting? Yes No If you answered yes to any of the above, please provide further details. Please indicate whether you design, manufacture or supply any of the following medical devices or component parts and, if so, where.
Category: Design / Manufacture / Supply / Location
  • Air Compressors / Pumps
  • Bellows
  • Self-inflating bags
  • Gas mixing valves
  • Pressure Regulators
  • Flow Control valves
  • Solenoid valves
  • Pressure relief valves
  • Check valves / one-way valves
  • Industrial Automation components (Safety Relays, PLCs)
  • Power Supplies
  • Electric Motors, and motor controllers
  • Linear actuators and controllers
  • Tubing and fittings
  • Pressure Sensors and Indicators
  • Oxygen Sensors and Indicators
  • Flow Sensors and Indicators
  • Manometers
  • Heat and moisture exchanging filters (HMEFs)
  • Air Filter, HEPA Filters


6. Please indicate in
  • which of the following activities your organisation has relevant skills,
  • which is your specialism, and
  • where these activities take place.
Category: Relevant skills / Specialism / Location
  • Design / specification
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Manufacturing (manual)
  • Manufacturing (automated)
  • Machine Shops/sheet metal/tool manufacture
  • Pneumatic part manufacturers/suppliers
  • Contract/Product Assembly
  • Certification/regulation/testing
  • Logistics
  • Medical Training
7. Please indicate which enabling resources are you able to provide in service of this initiative.
  • Suitable space
  • Equipment
  • Trained personnel
  • Other
theengineer.co.uk/uk-government-manufacturers-ventilators-nhs/ - posts in The Engineer independent.co.uk/news/business/coronavirus-ventilators-uk-new-dyson-order-government-shortage-nhs-a9426561.html - post in The Independent mention a GTech contract and that GTech will make the plans open source. Headlines seem to go to party donor Dyson instead.
This one from a college doesn't mention a manufacturer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IMaYFNB9tA&feature=emb_rel_end There is also an open source design project in Ireland which I don't understand - it's about slack channels and github for those qualified to help.

has been promised orders

Party donor James Dyson has been promised orders, with no web page findable yet

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Have your say on the UK Global Tariff

This is emotive. People have to write positive, simple reasons why
(a) tariffs can help prevent the next Syria by taxing badness.
(b) tariffs can help Bangladesh by giving it a reason to introduce National Insurance, and help the UK at the same time.
(c) talking of clothing and footwear, consumers in the UK can benefit from less throw-away thin cotton, which they often pay a lot for in M&S even if it is cheap at Primark, while there is a landfill problem just getting rid of all this stuff because it is too thin to sell secondhand.

There is more similar.

I will transcribe the questions and have a go online before sending-off my answers. Meanwhile, search "Have your say on the UK Global Tariff" to see the kind of thing the civil service asks.

The rule applies unless you have a customs agreement with a specific country or are part of a customs union

so the rule can be "if you are bad you pay" to all WTO members "without any regard to size or economic development"

To inform the development of the UK Global Tariff, the Government has launched a four-week public consultation on the UK Global Tariff policy, beginning on 6 February 2020 and closing on 5 March 2020. The Government encourages everyone with an interest to take part and provide their views.

This consultation will provide the opportunity for you to provide:
  • views on a potential series of amendments to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff regime;
  • specific feedback on individual products or commodity codes of importance to you, including on the corresponding tariff rate; and
  • information on your interactions with Most Favoured Nation tariffs, and the importance of tariffs to sectors that are important to you.
Throughout the consultation respondents are encouraged to provide evidence to support their view, including the possible impact (costs and benefits) of amending or not amending the tariff on businesses, consumers and the economy.

ambitious, transparent and inclusive UK trade policy that takes account of the views of all sectors of society and international stakeholders; including the general public, devolved administrations and the regions, businesses, civil society groups, consumers, associations and any other interested stakeholders.

In line with this, the Government has launched a 4-week public consultation on the UK’s future tariff schedule.

  • to design an effective UK specific Most Favoured Nation Tariff (the UK Global Tariff),
  • to ensure that the UK Global Tariff captures the views of its stakeholders,
  • to enable HM Government to follow up on the points raised in the consultation.
Section 2 Tariff Rates

Section 2 : Tariff Rates

Tariffs are duties or taxes paid on imported goods entering a country.

Those who import the goods into the UK pay the tariff, which is collected by HM Revenue & Customs.

The new UK Global Tariff will apply to all goods imported into the UK on 1 January 2021, unless an exception such as a preferential arrangement or tariff suspension applies. In particular, this tariff will not apply to goods coming from developing countries that benefit under the Generalised System of Preferences, or to goods originating from countries with which the UK has negotiated a Free Trade Agreement. The Northern Ireland / Ireland Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement provides for certain specific arrangements as regards Northern Ireland. It will be designed specifically for the UK economy and will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff which is currently applied on imports into the UK.

The UK is required to apply the same tariff rates to all goods imported from countries with which the UK does not have a preferential arrangement in place. This is in line with the World Trade Organisation’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle.

In this section you will be able to provide:
  • specific feedback on products or commodity codes of importance to you, including on the corresponding tariff rate;

    sewn cotton knit from Bangladesh

  • information on your interactions with Most Favoured Nation tariffs and the importance of tariffs to sectors that are important to you.
Slippers and all goods discouraged in the 1930s onwards and 1979-2009

Please note: this consultation is asking for views on applied tariffs only. It does not cover any other import duties or measures, including anti-dumping,
countervailing or
safeguards duties,
or any other form of restrictions on imports.

Were you aware of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) applied tariffs prior to hearing about this consultation?

Which of the following sectors are important to you when considering the current applied tariffs (the EU's Common External Tariff)? 
For example, for importing, producing and/or consuming.
Please select all that apply.

  • Agriculture
  • Energy and Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Construction services
  • Business services
  • Broadcasting, creative and digital sectors
  • Transport, storage and distribution services
  • Public Services
  • Retail and hospitality

Would you like to provide comments on specific tariff rates?
This will involve selecting commodities at the 8 digit commodity code level by searching either by code or description.
If you are unsure of the commodity code for the good you wish to comment on, please refer to the tariff look-up (opens in a new window).


Please provide any further comments on the UK Global Tariff.


Section 3 : UK Global Tariff Principles

Policy objectives
In setting the tariff rates, the Government will have regard to the following principles set out in the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018:
  • the interests of consumers in the United Kingdom,
  • the interests of producers in the United Kingdom of the goods concerned,
  • the desirability of maintaining and promoting the external trade of the United Kingdom,
  • the desirability of maintaining and promoting productivity in the United Kingdom, and
  • the extent to which the goods concerned are subject to competition.
The Government will also seek to balance strategic trade objectives, such as the delivery of the UK's trade ambitions and FTA agenda, including maintaining the Government's commitment to developing countries to reduce poverty through trade.

Proposed changes
The Government is seeking views on a series of potential amendments as the UK moves away from the EU’s Common External Tariff. These are set out below:
  1. Simplifying and tailoring the tariff. The Government is considering:
    1. Removing tariffs on goods with particularly low tariffs currently (less than 2.5%).
    2. Rounding tariffs down to the nearest standardised band.
    3. Taking steps towards agricultural tariffs that are applied as single percentages.
  2. Removing tariffs on key inputs used in the production of other goods.
  3. Removing tariffs where the UK has zero or limited domestic production.
These principles, alongside the strategic objectives outlined above, represent considerations the Government is inviting views on; they do not represent final decisions.

Please refer to the Statement of Direction and Information Packregarding the proposed tariff changes.

In this section you will be able to provide views on a potential series of amendments to the Common External Tariff to create a bespoke UK tariff.

The Government is considering removing comparatively low tariffs, commonly known as "nuisance tariffs", of 2.5% or less which in some instances could reduce the administrative burden on UK businesses.

Should the Government remove tariffs on goods of 2.5% or less?

Developing a bespoke tariff schedule provides the UK with an opportunity to simplify the tariff schedule it applies, so that it is both easier for businesses to understand and use.

The UK is considering rounding tariffs down to the nearest standardised band which would be:
  • 2.5% for tariffs currently under 20% (e.g. a 19.2% tariff becomes 17.5%, a 12.3% tariff becomes 10%),
  • 5% for tariffs currently between 21% and 50% (e.g. 48% tariff becomes 45%, 22% becomes 20%),
  • 10% for tariffs currently above 51% (e.g. a 68% tariff becomes 60%).
Should the Government round tariffs down to the nearest standardised band?

The Government is considering taking steps towards applying agricultural tariffs that are applied as single percentages.

Should the Government consider moving in this direction?

Inputs are goods which businesses import for the use in production and manufacturing of other goods. The Government is considering removing these tariffs with the aim of reducing input costs for UK producers to support UK manufacturing.

To assist identifying which goods are classified as inputs to production, the Government may consider the non-exhaustive goods listed in the following documents:
Please note that these documents are not exhaustive.

Should the Government remove tariffs on key inputs to production and manufacturing?

The UK is considering removing tariffs on goods where there is zero or limited UK production with the aim of benefiting UK consumers by lowering the cost of these imports.

To help identify which goods are classified as having zero or limited domestic production, the Government may consider the non-exhaustive goods listed in the following document: List of tariff suspensions that currently apply on inputs to production. Please note that this document is not exhaustive.

These goods, by definition, represent areas of low production in Europe. The Government may consider these goods when identifying areas of limited to no production in the UK.

Should the Government remove tariffs where the UK has zero or limited domestic production?


If you would like to provide any supplementary information in addition to your response, please upload below:
You can only upload one file.