// BRC warns that food and clothing prices will increase if govt and EU cannot agree on a tariff-free Brexit
// The trade association warned that “time was running out”
Prices on food and clothing will increase if the government and the EU cannot agree on a tariff-free Brexit deal before the end of October, the BRC warned.
The trade association warned that “time was running out” for a zero-tariff trade deal to be agreed.
It said that failure to do so would lead to price increases being passed on to UK consumers.
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In a report published on Friday, Why Tariffs are Bad News for UK Consumers, the BRC said that in a case of a no-deal, the average tariff on food imported from the EU would be over 20 per cent and over 12 per cent for clothing.
“Given the highly competitive nature of retail, the industry cannot absorb all these increased costs, meaning the public would face higher prices from January 1, 2021,” the BRC said.
“And with the coronavirus crisis already having a major impact on consumer spending, it is more important than ever that the government agrees to a deal that does not lead to price increases in shops and online.”
BRC EU policy adviser William Bain said any zero-tariff, zero-quota deal would need to be agreed between the UK and the EU by the end of October.
He warned that failure to achieve this would not only lead to increased prices but also reductions in the choice, availability and quality of products available to consumers.
“The key message is that our biggest concern is on tariffs, and if there is no trade deal between the UK and the EU it will lead to a rise in prices for the consumer and a diminishing in the quality and range of products that could be made available to UK consumers,” Bain said.
BRC Northern Ireland director Aodhán Connolly also warned that if mitigations could not be agreed over the status of Northern Ireland, UK retail would be “looking at frictions there that have never existed before”.
Connolly also said that the pandemic had demonstrated “the fragility of our modern-day just-in-time supply chains”.