BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Ensuring the journey ahead is positive for both retailers and consumers requires an orderly and sequenced Brexit process. The first step is to mitigate the risks by securing the continuation of tariff-free trade with the EU, to avoid further upward pressure on food prices.
Next, 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."
The BRC says that by preserving the openness in trade we already have with our existing partners in the short-term and reaping the benefits of new trade deals in the medium-term, consumers get continued and even greater access to a diverse range of goods at competitive prices.
- 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 agreements should be secured before pursuing new trade deals.
- A UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences1 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.