“Now that the UK Government has launched the next phase in the discussion on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, there needs to be wider recognition of the complexity and scale of the challenge pertaining to future customs controls,” the BRC said in a new report.
The choice and availability of affordable, quality products for consumers are at risk without additional agreements and investment to supplement a customs deal, says the report titled ‘A fair Brexit for consumers: The customs roadmap’.
Explaining this further, BRC says that European supply chains are a key part of delivering the goods that UK consumers buy every day. Since the majority of those goods are ones that need to be transported quickly, it means the UK needs a system of controls after Brexit which ensures that products can continue to be imported without delays, disruption or additional costs, which would affect availability on the shelves, increase waste and push prices up.
“A strong deal on customs is absolutely essential to deliver a fair Brexit for consumers. Whilst the Government has acknowledged the need to avoid a cliff-edge after Brexit day, a customs union in itself won’t solve the problem of delays at ports. So to ensure supply chains are not disrupted and goods continue to reach the shelves, agreements on security, transit, haulage, drivers, VAT and other checks will be required to get systems ready for March 2019,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.
“We want to work with the Government to develop a system which works for consumers, so that there’s no difference in terms of the availability of affordable, quality products when they make purchases or visit stores post-Brexit. We believe our recommendations will help to achieve that and enable our world-leading retail industry to continue serving customers and contribute to the growth of the UK economy,” she added. (RKS)
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