The government has released its anticipated white paper laying out its 12 principles for leaving the EU, setting the foundations for the Brexit process to begin.
Retailers have welcomed the white paper’s emphasis on “free trade with European markets”, relieving some pressure on uncertainty and providing hope that they will not be battered by tariffs.
Prime Minister Theresa May continued to push the notion of the UK as a “champion of free trade”, stating that leaving the EU would allow the country to strike free trade deals across the globe while remaining clear it will not be part of the single market.
“I am not approaching the negotiations expecting failure, but anticipating success,” May said yesterday.
Despite the ambitious plans, British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson warned that these trade deals would require close work with the retail industry.
“There are reasons to be optimistic about trade and retail in a post-Brexit world. It’s encouraging that the government recognises that the UK has a role to play as a champion of free and open trade,” she stated.
”However, securing a positive new customs arrangement with the EU, which enables mutually beneficial opportunities for trade with the EU and the rest of the world, will be crucial to ensuring British shoppers aren’t hit with the costs of unwanted import tariffs.
“Making these stated ambitions a reality will require close partnership between the retail industry and UK-EU negotiators. In the short term, the number one priority needs to be ensuring that Britain’s exit from the EU is orderly, allowing all goods traded between the EU and the UK to be in free circulation.”