Thursday, 31 August 2017

More Brexit LOLZ

From City AM:

Retail industry experts have warned gaps could appear on supermarket shelves if the government does not secure the right customs agreements and infrastructure investment required to prepare the UK for Brexit, retail experts have warned.

That's nonsense for a start.

Supermarket shelves are pretty much the most valuable and coveted space of all, which is why supermarkets effectively rent shelf space to food producers. They's be stupid to leave them empty, they'll just display something else instead (i.e. home-grown food).

A lot of stuff on supermarket shelves is from outside the EU and that manages to get here OK...

In a report highlighting the changes the UK will face on leaving the Customs Union, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the government must not "underestimate the complexity and scale of the challenge" the transition poses...

The trade body has estimated that customs declarations could rise in number by between 55m and 255m per year, and that an extra 180,000 companies could be filing declarations for the first time, if the UK leaves the EU on the terms set by the World Trade Organisation.

In addition, ports must be ready to handle a higher throughput of regulatory documents after Brexit to avoid delays.

Hey, let's not bother with all this regulatory crap. Of course we have to have spot checks at borders, that's what they're there for, but can't we just continue on the assumption that if something is good enough for the EU market it is good enough for ours and just wave it through?


Shiney said...

Utter B*ll*cks of course.

Re shelf space.... as MW said it'd be great for UK SMEs (like mine) if all the space taken up by EFTA and Turkish produced stuff was empty... as we'd fill the gaps with lovely UK produced goods with a f*ck off union jack on them.

Plus retailers audit all own label suppliers at least once a year to the BRC (and their own usually higher) standards - which are also above the base UK/EU 'legal' requirements. Brand owners (e.g. say P&G/Unilever) who sub-contract do exactly the same. If the goods are approved to BRC levels then they should just be let through.

Job done.


Edward Spalton said...

We export food to the EU as well as importing far more from them (approx 40per cent of what we eat, much of which is perishable)
If we become a "Third Country" outside the EU, then our food exports will be subject to border checks for health reasons before they can go to customs for any relevant tariffs to be charged. Our food exports, I am informed, range between 200 to maybe 2,000 containers a day in peak periods. There are insufficient French Border Control Posts for their inspection. The British government says that its new computer system for outward clearance will be ready in time for Brexit but there will be no corresponding French computer for it to talk to. The U.K. will no longer be part of existing customs cooperation agreement, so paper checks and physical inspections will slow things greatly on the French side, causing outgoing loads to be stacked on the British side. There is scope for a monumental cock up. All those held up containers will not be available on time for the planned return loads. M. Barnier has said that the EU will maintain its usual border regime when the UK is outside the EEA/ single market, as the UK government wants to be. At present some 14,000 containers a day cross the channel
For really well documented information on this, try

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, good point about importers doing checks.

It's already the law that the importer is liable for safety in the same way as a domestic manufacturer would be. Which pretty much covers it, there are three scenarios:

1. Somebody is trying to smuggle drugs or weapons into the country. No amount of paperwork will stop that.
2. A small importer brings a few items in and sells them. They turn out to be unsafe. Not good outcome, but not national tragedy.
3. Large importers bring in lots of stuff. They will check for safety themselves. Every now and then you get poisoned eggs or horse meat, but the actual harm from this was negligible.

Ed, yes, the French will use any old excuse to put a boycott on British products, that's the same whether we are in or out of the EU. So we will have to export via Belgium or the Netherlands instead.

Dinero said...

"good enough for the EU market"

That doesn't follow, its not appropriate to use a notion about EU market standards for goods not destined for sale in the EU market.

Edward Spalton said...


Having been viscerally opposed to our EEC/EU membership since 1972 and actively involved in campaigning since the Eighties,
I am well aware of the sort of tricks the French have got up to in the past. There was a campaign years ago, compounded of official obstruction and direct action by farmers ( who occasionally burned lorries) to keep out British lamb because it was " New Zealand lamb in disguise". However, I am not talking about that sort of thing but EU institutional rules which apply to goods from non EU countries and the physical and electronic facilities needed to enforce them efficiently and speedily. Nowhere along the Channel coast are there sufficient border control posts to deal with the volume of containers

Please do have a look at the site, especially the post of today's date ( 1 Sept) - also the generally very well informed comments. Ask any questions you like.

For a non technical account of my formative experiences of the European project from 1958 to 1981, Google Edward Spalton and click on the authored list of Campaign for an Independent Britain. Scroll down to the four short episodes of " The Miller's Tale " - but there is no Chaucerian salaciousness!

Lola said...


Well. Yes. But that's rather part of the point of getting out. And it illustrates precisely how the Single Market is all about protectionism and not free trade. Quite frankly that is the history of Europe. From the autarkic ambitions of Germany to the naked self-interest of uneconomic French farmers the purpose of the EU is to prevent competition and free trade.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, if our spot checks (or retailer checks) show that suppliers in EU countries are dumping sub-standard crap on us, we'll stop buying it. So why would they?

Ed, a lot of people know a lot more about EU bureaucratic chicanery than I do, but we cannot beat them at their own game and there is no point retaliating in kind - it is far better to just not play any more and revert to free trade (the point of my original post).

L, agreed.

Lola said...

Mw. Do not engage your enemy on ground of their choosing. That's rule 1. As you say just refuse to do bureaucracy like they do. Then they will be dead in the water.