The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that supermarkets will face over £3 billion in tariffs if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal and that these costs will be passed onto consumers. Both the UK and the EU stated on Friday that there is a “strong possibility” that there will be no post-Brexit trade deal between the two parties. Johnson however added that a no-deal scenario, similar to the relationship that Australia has with the EU, would still be “very good”.
If a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, supermarket chains will face new import taxes on goods from the EU, particularly fresh food. The BRC estimates that 85% of food imported from the EU will face tariffs of over 5%. The average tariff would be more than 20%, including 16% on cucumbers and 10% on lettuce.
BRC director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie said: “With just weeks to go, it is alarming that there has still been no deal agreed with the EU, putting customers in line for a £3bn tariff bombshell. Currently, four-fifths of UK food imports come from the EU and without a tariff-free deal, supermarkets and their customers face over £3bn in tariffs from 2021. Retailers are doing everything they can in time for 1 January but no amount of preparation for retailers can entirely prevent disruption to food and other essential goods that come from or through the EU.”