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Britain imports most of its prune juice as well as prunes for manufacturing from France, Chile and Turkey

The UK is lifting the current import tariff on American prune juice as it continues to navigate post-Brexit trade negotiations.

The tariff suspension of the existing 16% tax on prune juice and prune juice concentrate is expected to come into force from 11 April and remain in place until at least 30 June 2026.

The tariff was a legacy of the previous EU membership, which was in place to protect domestic producers like France from big international rivals such as Chile.

But as Britain does not have domestic prune production – instead importing from France, Turkey and Chile – the tariff “served no purpose in protecting UK producers”, according to the California Prune Board.

CPB director of international marketing, Esther Ritson-Elliott, said the tariff removal will put the US prune industry “on a level playing field” with other international rivals who are not subject to similar tariffs and ultimately lower prices for UK consumers.

“As prune juice is almost wholly a consumer product the cost of the tariff on prune juice from California falls directly on the consumer,” Ritson-Elliott said.

“Until now, consumers have been paying more for California prune juice because of the tariff. The removal of the tariff is a real boost for UK consumers, and we hope that this will give consumers more access to higher quality California prune juice on UK retail shelves.”

The prune juice tariff suspension follows last year’s removal of the 8% tariff on the import of US prunes.

Britain imported around $2.5m (or 421 tons) of dried fruits, including dried apricots, prunes, apples, peaches, pears, from the US in 2023, International Trade Centre data showed - down from $5.4m (1,205 tons) the year before.

The CPB added the decision provided “a boost for the industry and comes at a time when UK consumers are showing an increasing interest in natural and healthy food and drink”.

The top processed fruit imports in the UK are dried grapes, jams, and dates, but US exporters can still ”find opportunities in cranberries, dried cherries, prunes, raisins, and wild berries”, according to the US Department of Agriculture.