In April 2017, the British Retail Consortium ("BRC") launched its "Fair Brexit for Consumers" campaign which urges the future UK Government to ensure a fair deal for both retailers and consumers during the Brexit negotiations with the EU.
BRC's Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson, states that "Britain’s exit from the EU will have a profound impact on the goods that Britain imports, the products that UK consumers buy and the prices they pay". Ms Dickinson therefore asks the future Government "to mitigate the risks by securing the continuation of tariff-free trade with the EU, to avoid further upward pressure on food prices"..."replicate the EU’s existing deals with developing countries" and only then "look to realise the opportunities presented by new trading relationships with the rest of the world".
The BRC has also produced a "Tariff Road Map for the next Government" which outlines Britain's current import trade relationships and, in light of the anticipated Brexit risks and opportunities, lays down the following recommendations to the future Government:
- "Across the board tariff-free trade with the EU should be the top priority of negotiations for the next Government.
- The cliff edge should be avoided through a transitional arrangement that recognises all goods in free circulation.
- Existing benefits of EU preferential trade agreements1 should be secured before pursuing new trade deals.
- A UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences2 should be introduced that is at least as generous as that currently offered by the EU.
- The UK Government should define its independent trade policy early in consultation with UK businesses."
The retail industry must be recognised by the future Government as a significant contributor to the UK economy, but whether it will take heed of BRC's advice and nurture the current stability of our business environment in this sphere remains to be seen.