Retailers and brands could face red tape and severe delays at ports without additional agreements and investment to supplement a customs deal, the British Retail Consortium has said.
Now the government has launched the next phase in Brexit discussions with Europe, the BRC is calling for wider recognition of the complexity and scale of the challenge surrounding customs controls in a new report.
The retail body is calling for “significant investment” in the UK’s ports, roads and infrastructure to get systems ready for Brexit, and new agreements supplementing customs that are necessary to side-step additional red tape at ports and docks and prevent delays to goods.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said a strong deal on customs is “absolutely essential” to deliver a fair Brexit.
“While the government has acknowledged the need to avoid a cliff-edge after Brexit day, a customs union in itself won’t solve the problem of delays at ports. So to ensure supply chains are not disrupted and goods continue to reach the shelves, agreements on security, transit, haulage, drivers, VAT and other checks will be required to get systems ready for March 2019.
“We want to work with the government to develop a system that works for consumers, so that there’s no difference in terms of the availability of affordable, quality products when they make purchases or visit stores post-Brexit. We believe our recommendations will help to achieve that and enable our world-leading retail industry to continue serving customers and contribute to the growth of the UK economy.”