The availability of quality products in the UK could be disrupted by Brexit, the British Retail Consortium has warned.
The trade body said that imports could be delayed if Britain does not resolve issues around custom processes.
While the government has outlined its vision for customs arrangements after Brexit, there are vital considerations yet to be mentioned, the BRC explained in its Customs Roadmap report.
“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,”said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.
“We want to work with the Government to develop a system which 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.”
The BRC estimates that leaving the EU customers union will lead to an increase in customs declarations from 55 million to 255 million a year, with imports from the EU that previously passed through unchecked having to be registered and inspected.
If the UK does not invest in the infrastructure to support this dramatic increase, there could be delays of up to three days at ports,