M&S panic: EU plot to force retailers to buy European food rather than English

Brexit: David McCredie discusses UK trade deal with Australia

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Under the terms of Boris Johnson Brexit trade deal customs restrictions now exist on some trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The extra bureaucracy has seen some firms struggle to get goods across the Irish Sea whilst infuriating unionists.

According to the Daily Telegraph in response Marks & Spencer will purchase more food from within the EU.

Speaking to the paper Clive Black, a Shore Capital retail analyst, commented: “It’s been a real problem to try and rectify.

“It’s obscene and a disgrace that bureaucrats in Brussels are thinking there is something potentially illegal or wrong with M&S lasagne.”

Whilst Britain formally quit the EU in January 2020 it remained closely tied to the bloc until the end of December.

At this point, the Brexit transition deal was replaced by Mr Johnson’s new agreement as the basis for trade.

In January Marks & Spencer was forced to stop selling some products in its 18 Northern Irish stores.

Regulations introduced as part of the trade deal meant the company struggled to move some produces from elsewhere in the UK.

Earlier this year the Government infuriated Brussels by unilaterally delaying some checks on trade with Northern Ireland.

In response, the EU has initiated legal action against the UK.

In January the EU threatened to suspend the Northern Ireland protocol itself, putting a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, during a row over coronavirus vaccine supplies.

They backed down following outrage in London, Dublin and Belfast.

Marks and Spencer’s chief executive, Steve Rowe, will provide details of the company’s annual results later this week.

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Speaking to the Daily Telegraph Kate Calvert, from banking firm Investec, predicted there will be a Brexit impact.

She said: “International (sales) will have been impacted by changing pandemic restrictions as well as by the extra duty costs and disruptions to food availability in France, Ireland and the Czech Republic from the Brexit trade agreement.”

Edwin Poots, the new DUP leader, has called for the Northern Ireland protocol to be scrapped.

Speaking to RTE he described it as “hugely damaging to all of the people of Northern Ireland”.

He added: “We have seen riots on our streets, we saw community tensions rise as a consequence of this, we want to defuse that.

“As a Unionist leader, I want to defuse that situation but I can’t do that on my own.

“I need help from the UK Government, from the European Union and indeed a bit of common sense coming from the Irish government.”

Loyalist rioting erupted across Northern Ireland last month leaving dozens of police officers injured.

This was attributed in part to anger at the new restrictions along the Irish Sea.

Addressing the Northern Ireland affairs committee on Wednesday David Campbell, who heads the Loyalist Communities Council, warned the situation could “creep over into violence” unless it’s resolved.

Express.co.uk has approached Marks & Spencer for comment.

 

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