As a member of the EU, the UK currently benefits from zero or low rate tariffs on various imports from trade deals that the EU has negotiated with countries. From the day after the UK leaves the EU, on March 30, 2019, it will no longer be covered by these international agreements, so imported goods will be subject to higher tariffs and potential customs barriers. For consumers this means higher prices.
New or higher tariffs inevitably mean consumers would face higher prices in their everyday shop, as staple products such as fruit, vegetables, fish, and clothing would be hardest hit. Tariff on clothing from Turkey, a major supplier to the UK, could rise from zero per cent to 12 per cent, and fish from Iceland from 3.4 per cent to eleven per cent. Price increases would add to the burden of hard-pressed consumers.
Now that an agreement has been reached to move the negotiations on to trade, the focus must be on securing the continuity of free trade with Europe, alongside replicating these existing agreements with countries outside of the EU. These are the crucial next steps that the UK needs to take to avoid a cliff-edge situation on Brexit day and to deliver a fair Brexit for consumers.