// UK grocers warn their businesses in Northern Ireland will be affected by rising costs and trade disruption
// Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Iceland and Co-op bosses wrote to ministers calling for urgent action
The UK’s biggest grocers have warned that their businesses in Northern Ireland will feel the impact of rising costs and trade disruption under the terms of the Brexit protocol.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Iceland and Co-op bosses wrote to ministers calling for urgent action to address the future of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The retailers warned that they may need to move their supply chains from Britain to the EU as a result of the added costs and complexities of moving goods into Northern Ireland.
From October, retailers face increased red tape at Northern Irish ports under the terms of the Brexit deal, including additional checks, paperwork requirements and the need for Export Health Certificates on products originating from animals.
The letter, sent to Brexit minister, Lord Frost, and vice president of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations, Maroš Šefčovič, has called on UK and EU governments to hold urgent talks with UK retailers.
Retailers warn in the letter that, “without swift, decisive, and cooperative movement on this issue there will be disruption”.
“The end to the NI grace period looms in the mind of every British retailer with supply chains in Northern Ireland,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
“If no action is taken, then it will be the people the Northern Ireland, with half of the discretionary income of GB households, who bear the brunt of this stalemate – meaning less choice and higher costs for essential food purchases.
“Already, new red tape is causing delays, there are surging additional costs, and we are seeing challenges to ‘just-in-time’ supply chains.
“We need to see real ambition from both sides to provide a compromise that benefits those most impacted: the people of Northern Ireland.
“Our members made significant investments in the last few months to avoid disruption, yet disruption will become inevitable if the regime that will come into force in October is unrealistic and disproportionately onerous.
“Retailers have shown their compliance – the government and EU must now help us by removing the barriers to GB-NI supply chains.”