The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched its Tariff Roadmap for the next Government, which highlights the short term risks and long-term opportunities for the UK’s global trading relationships presented by Brexit.
Created as part of the trade body’s A Fair Brexit for Consumers project, the report argues neither for a hard nor strong Brexit but rather a “smart Brexit” and calls on the government to “lead an orderly and sequenced process, where we renegotiate to continue across the board tariff-free arrangements with the EU before securing new trading relationships with the rest of the world”.
BRC CEO Helen Dickinson OBE said it was crucial to negotiate a tariff-free deal with the EU before embarking on pursuing other trading relationships to avoid further upward price pressure in areas such as food. “Next [step], is the need to replicate the EU’s existing deals with developing countries. Only then, should the Government look to realise the opportunities presented by new trading relationships with the rest of the world,” she said.
More than three-quarters of the imported food consumed in the UK comes from the EU, however the UK is much less reliant on the EU for clothing. Around 12% of non-food goods (a category which includes clothing, furniture and “other” items) consumed in the UK are imported from the EU, and much of the clothing imported to the UK comes from countries (such as India and China) where there is no existing special trade deal. Negotiating new deals with these countries could see tariff reductions of up to 12% on clothing, Dickinson said.