Business Groups Urge UK To Seek Solid EU Trade Deal, As Brexit Looms
With the UK's departure from the European Union now just hours away, the British Retail Consortium is among the groups urging the British government to seek a trade deal with the EU that 'puts consumers first'.
While the UK formally exits the EU at midnight tonight (CET), the trade negotiations between the two blocs are only beginning, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson eager to have this process completed by the end of the year.
“Even though the UK is leaving the EU, consumers can rest assured that they will still find the same products at the same great prices, both online and in stores, throughout the 2020 transition period," commented Helen Dickinson OBE, British Retail Consortium chief executive,
"What happens after will depend on the numerous trade negotiations that the UK will now be engaging in, and we look forward to the opportunities that new trade deals may have for consumers around the world."
Dickinson called on the government to develop a 'comprehensive trade deal' with the European Union.
"We need a UK-EU deal which puts consumers first: one that continues zero-tariff trade and minimises any new barriers to trade," she said. "Without these, it will be the public who will face higher costs and reduced choice on the shelves."
'Brave New World Of Trading'
Elsewhere, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has said that the UK needs to secure a free trade agreement with the EU, as well as ensure zero tariffs on all wine and spirit imports.
“It’s time to complete a trade deal with the EU – and move on," commented Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive.
"The wine and spirit industry must embrace a brave new world of trading. We need to focus on the opportunities and to steer government towards breaking down barriers on trade, while also reinforcing the UK’s position at the centre of international wine and spirit trading."
Earlier this week, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published a new paper Working Together: CBI priorities for a strong and open Europe, with which it outlined the key policy areas that need to be discussed between the UK and Europe.
'Strong cooperation between the UK and EU has positioned the UK as the second largest export market for the EU with 5.8 million EU jobs now linked to UK-EU trade,' it said. 'As the new relationship develops, it is important that UK-EU collaboration delivers for business and citizens.'
© 2020 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