NI supermarkets call for urgent solution to avoid Brexit trade disruption

Retailers welcome extensions to grace periods but say much more needs to be done before the end of September

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20 July 2021 | 0

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Northern Ireland’s leading supermarkets have called for urgent action to avoid trade disruption under the Brexit protocol terms.

Retailers representing more than 75% of Northern Ireland’s grocery market have written to David Frost, the UK’s Brexit Minister and European Commission vice president Marcos Sefcovic urging action.

The Northern Ireland Protocol, aimed at preventing a hard border, will involve numerous further checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Britain later this year.

According to the supermarkets, if a solution is not found, they will face greater costs and complexity in moving goods from Britain to NI from October onwards.

Increased checks, additional paperwork and need for export health certificates on products of animal origin could force many retailers to move supply chains from Britain to the EU, the supermarkets argued.

Although they welcomed extensions to grace periods, the retailers believe “much more needs to be done before the end of September if there is not to be significant disruption to supply and an increase in cost for Northern Ireland consumers”.

The Irish Times reports that the supermarkets want UK and EU governments to enter discussions with British retailers, visit their supply chains and distribution centres, and host joint talks between government technical officials and retail supply chain experts to find a working solution.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said Northern Ireland consumers could face less choice and higher costs for food, unless a solution is found.

 

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