The BRC has launched a report outlining the retail industry’s priorities for the upcoming Government negotiations with the EU.
Titled ‘A Fair Deal for Consumers: EU Trade Roadmap,’ it calls for pragmatic solutions on future compliance and regulatory checks that will apply from January 2021.
The BRC says without these, consumers will face higher costs and reduced availability of goods.
While the report makes clear that there is no possibility of return to frictionless trade under the Government’s red lines, the BRC outlined key mitigations that could reduce the impact on consumers and retailers:
- Zero tariff trade deal
- Cooperation with the EU to minimise trade friction
- Coordination on VAT, customs and excise procedures
- Advance information on new checks and paperwork
- Timely construction of necessary infrastructure at UK ports
Without pragmatic solutions and agreements with the EU, companies may be required to produce VAT and excise documents, freight documents, health and veterinary paperwork, export health certificates, Exit and Entry summary declarations, and Safety and Security permits.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The issue is simple – 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 minimises checks and red tape otherwise it will be consumers who suffer as a result.”
Adding: “The introduction of excessive or avoidable checks would mean businesses face a mountain of paperwork to be filled out by an army of newly trained staff, coupled with exhaustive checks on thousands of lorries every day. And the result for consumers would be higher costs and reduced availability on the shelves.”
She concluded: “New IT systems will need to be created and tested before the 1st January 2021. Border Control Posts must be built, with people hired and trained to run. Unless these are ready and tested. The Government has no time to lose.”