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Retail

BRC: UK Must Avoid A 'Cliff-Edge' Brexit Scenario At All Costs

The British Retail Consortium has warned that the UK needs to urgently put in place measures to avoid a 'cliff-edge' Brexit, to avoid the country's departure from the EU becoming a 'lose-lose' situation.

The BRC was responding to the European Commission's announcement on proposed Brexit preparations, and reiterated its position that a no-deal Brexit would 'severely impact' movement of goods between the UK and EU.

"Failure to achieve a smooth transition will create a lose-lose scenario for UK consumers and EU producers," said Richard Pennycook, chairman of the British Retail Consortium. "Our food supply chain is complex, highly organised and ultimately fragile. Even if the UK keeps its borders open, the EU application of regulation and tariffs at borders in relation to the UK would cause significant delays and will lead to food rotting in transit."

Trade Agreement

The EU exports £21 billion of goods to the UK and a third of the food consumed in the UK is imported from the EU, the BRC noted, adding that the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers and food producers in the EU also depends on the UK reaching trade agreement with the bloc.

"Frictionless trade is essential if the industry is to continue to provide the level of choice and value in shops that UK consumers are used to seeing," Pennycook added.

"It is now of the utmost importance that the UK Government gets the Withdrawal Agreement over the line and allows for a smooth transition. We also need the EU to be flexible and creative in negotiation and recognise what is at stake for exports to the UK. Time is running out."

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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