May's Brexit Speech 'Outlined The Right Priorities', Says BRC
UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave her long-awaited speech on Brexit last Friday, outlining her vision for the future economic partnership between the UK and the EU.
May acknowledged that there will be an economic cost when the UK leaves the EU's single market and customs union, but said that the government would work to protect jobs and trade with a new customs deal, and avoid a hard border.
Although the speech was met with mixed reactions, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said that May's 'Brexit vision' outlined "the right priorities".
"The retail industry wants trade to be as frictionless as possible to sustain low prices, good availability and choice for consumers," said Dickinson.
"The government’s intent to secure this is welcome. The proposal to seek ‘mutual recognition’ on checks and testing for non-food product regulation is also welcome."
However, Dickinson warned that there are still concerns about the potential friction from this approach for the movement of fresh food and produce from the EU to the UK.
"We still haven’t seen workable plans that would avoid the need for checks on meat and fresh produce on both sides of a new customs border," she said.
“We will seek to work with the government and all political parties over the next few months to develop the detail on a migration system that works so that the retail industry can continue to deliver the goods consumers want, when they want them.”
The BRC previously warned that the UK government should do 'all it can' in forthcoming trade talks with the EU, to ensure that the pain of recent price increases is not accelerated by new tariffs on imports.
Meanwhile, last week, Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe said that Brexit would lead to an unprecedented food shortage if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.