Buyers to suffer if benefits of EU trade deals cease: BRC

27 Dec '17
2 min read

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has emphasised the need for the UK Government to assure citizens that all trade deals with the European Union (EU) will be transferred in time to the individual EU member countries to ensure that British consumers do not have to pay a steep price for many consumer durables and food items imported from EU nations.

“New or higher tariffs inevitably mean consumers would face higher prices in their everyday shop, as staple products such as fruit, vegetables, fish, and clothing would be hardest hit. Price increases of any scale would add to the burden of hard-pressed consumers whose finances are already being squeezed by inflationary pressures,” according to Andrew Opie, BRC director of food and sustainability.

BRC research shows the importance to British consumers of maintaining the benefits of trade deals the EU has negotiated with other countries.

The United Kingdom currently benefits from zero or low rate tariffs on various imports from trade deals that the EU has negotiated with third countries. But when the country leaves the EU on 30 March 2019, it will no longer be covered by these international agreements, and therefore, imported goods will be subject to higher tariffs and potential customs barriers. This would result in higher prices for consumers.

Using import data from UK retailers, the BRC has identified the countries where negotiating replica trade agreements will make the most difference to ensure prices don’t rise immediately on exit, said a BRC press release.

These deals are particularly important for the price of food and clothing for shoppers in the United Kingdom. For example, in the event of a no deal, the tariff on clothing from Turkey, a major supplier,, could rise from zero to 12 per cent, and fish from Iceland from 3.4 to 11 per cent.

“Now that an agreement has been reached to move the negotiations on to trade, the focus must be on securing the continuity of free trade with Europe, alongside replicating these existing agreements with countries outside of the EU. These are the crucial next steps that Government needs to take to avoid a cliff-edge situation on Brexit day and to deliver a fair Brexit for consumers,” Opie added. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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