İrem UZUN -TDO- (18.02.2020)- British consumers will face higher prices and limited ranges of goods in the event of a return to customs controls after the Brexit transition period, an industry body warned on Monday. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) issued the gloomy warning in a report entitled “A Fair Deal for Consumers: EU Trade Road Map”, which outlined its priorities for London’s trade talks with Brussels.
Next month will see the formal launch of negotiations on a new relationship after Britain left the EU at the end of January. Britain was able to import and export goods seamlessly during its membership of the EU’s customs union and single market, however the UK government said last week that border controls will be needed to ensure the right customs and excise duties are collected and borders are kept secure after the 11-month transition period ends on December 31st. The BRC highlighted that almost 80% of all food imported by British retailers comes from the EU. And the lion’s share of those imports pass through Dover and Folkestone - Britain’s biggest ports - on about 7,000 lorries every day. London says it will be leaving the EU’s single market and customs union, which now facilitate seamless cross-border trade.
BRC said that without practical agreements with the EU, companies could be required to produce a mountain of paperwork at border crossings – VAT sales tax and excise documents, freight documents, health and veterinary paperwork, export health certificates, exit and entry summary declarations, and safety and security permits. “Higher tariffs and extensive checks will harm consumers, retailers, and the UK economy. The government must set about to negotiate a zero-tariff agreement that minimizes checks and red tape otherwise it will be consumers who suffer as a result," said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.