The British Retail Consortium has breathed a sigh of relief after today’s “breakthrough” in a joint report from EU and UK Brexit negotiators.
Prime Minister Theresa May has finally struck a deal with the EU to bring the first phase of negotiations to an end, which includes the protection of rights of EU citizens in the UK.
EU citizens make up a large proportion of the retail industry in the UK, and the BRC has previously warned of a workforce shortage across the industry if their rights were not protected.
There will also be no “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland m and the rights of UK citizens in the EU will be protected, too.
Downing Street has said the so-called “divorce bill” will cost the UK between £35 billion and £39 billion.
UK and EU officials will now meet next Thursday for a European Council summit and need to provide official backing for the deal to allow the next phase of negotiations to begin, which will focus on the “framework for the future relationship” – which includes trade.
BRC’s Europe and international policy adviser William Bain said: “Once endorsed by the European Council next Friday we would hope talks can move quickly on to the principles and terms around the transitional arrangements to ensure businesses have the certainty to plan and invest and that consumers don’t face higher costs or delays from tariffs or onerous customs barriers.
“UK consumers should continue to benefit from lasting tariff-free trade and as free a flow of goods to and from UK and the rest of Europe markets as possible.”