New tax for Swedish waste sector could impact UK exporters

swedish import tax

Sweden has announced a new tax on imports of “waste that is burnt”, which will come into effect from the 1st of April 2020. The £6 per tonne tax is expected to affect UK exporters of refuse derived fuel (RDF) to Sweden.

RDF exporters are likely to face higher costs as a result of the Swedish import tax, with the UK providing around half of Sweden’s 1.5 million tonnes of RDF imports. Under the plans passed by the Swedish government, the tax is set to increase by a further £2 a year over the next 2 years at which point further annual increases will be set. A Swedish government spokesperson commented that the country is seeking to achieve “more resource-efficient and non-toxic waste management.”.

The impact that these measures will have upon the UK RDF export market are currently unknown. The Dutch, another large importer of RDF from the UK, are voting later this month on their own tax of €30 per tonne on RDF imports, potentially increasing the cost for UK exporters further. With other countries also looking at their own taxes on RDF imports to meet climate change targets, exporters are facing uncertain times ahead.