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European retailers have blamed Brexit for delivery delays and the extra fees shoppers have to pay.
Companies, such as & Other Stories, Asics, Sezane and Goodhood have pointed the finger at Brexit amid delivery hold-ups lasting days or sometimes weeks.
Consumers who buy items from EU retailers have also been hit extra fees of up to £5 ($7) on fashion items shipped from the bloc.
Some retailers and delivery firms have said that they are charging fees to cover the cost of the extra Brexit red tape.
Parisian fashion brand Sezane said that Brexit will see all UK orders charged a £5 admin fee.
Meanwhile, & Other Stories, owned by Swedish fashion house H&M (HM-B.ST), said it suffered “a limited period” of delays due to Brexit.
Delivery companies have also announced they will be charging packages due to Brexit.
So far, several companies have been hit by the disruption almost three weeks into the new arrangements.
Parcel delivery firm DPD last week said that it will suspend its road delivery services to Europe, including to Ireland due to Brexit. The firm said that “complex” Brexit procedures are causing issues as a fifth of parcels are now being sent with “incorrect or incomplete” data, meaning they need to be returned.
The delays are thought to be caused by extra paperwork and additional customs and border checks.
The Brexit deal agreed on Christmas Eve, secures tariff-free and quota-free trading between Britain and the bloc, but it also introduces new customs checks and paperwork at the border.
Food and goods imported into the UK from third countries and then shipped to the EU will face charges.
The trading agreement between the pair includes a one year waiver on declarations on “rules of origin” conditions, which state how much of an item needs to be locally made in order to avoid tariffs.
Under the terms, tariffs will be charged on goods that do not meet rules of origin requirements.
Under the new Brexit terms, anyone sending parcels from the EU to the UK needs to fill in forms including proof of origin and the reason for sending the package.
Retailers selling to the UK are now required to pay customs duties and fill out declaration forms, as well as register for VAT in the UK. VAT relief on imported goods under £15 have also been abolished.
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According to government calculations published in July, UK businesses will need to submit 215 more customs forms a year after Brexit — which could cost £12bn.
In early January it was announced that companies exporting goods between Britain and the bloc will be given a 12-month grace period on some supporting Brexit-related paperwork in efforts to ease into the new regime.
The government has promised to “redouble” efforts to inform traders of the paperwork required now that the UK is outside of EU rules.
Last week, senior minister Michael Gove warned UK businesses to brace for “significant disruption” at ports. Gove said on Friday that disruption at Britain’s border had not been “too profound” yet.
He especially warned on the impact at the French border. “It is the case that in the weeks ahead, we expect that there will be significant additional disruption — particularly on the Dover-Calais route,” the cabinet minister said.
The Brexit red tape had also caused issues for shipments into Northern Ireland, despite government assurances that there would be no border down the Irish Sea.
Britain which officially left Europe in January 2020 had been trading on EU terms up until 31 December last year.
“What the Welsh Government should be doing is promoting Welsh businesses, making sure that Welsh businesses take the opportunities now that are available to them, not just with our European friends but across the world.”
When it comes to Brexit on the island of Ireland, the optics matter. And in the last couple of weeks, they haven’t been great.
Supermarket shelves sitting empty in the North; log-jammed lorry parks in the South.
A piece of Brexit paperwork — the Northern Ireland protocol — is to blame. Designed to avoid the return of commercial checkpoints across the island, the protocol sees Northern Ireland remain aligned with the EU single market, allowing goods to pass freely to-and-from the Irish Republic.
The catch: an effective customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland down the Irish Sea. This has slowed — and in some cases, curtailed — the flow of deliveries to Belfast, Ballymena, and beyond. At Dublin Port, through which a significant chunk of the North’s trade passes, freight is moving at a glacial pace.
A catalogue of new documentary checks lurk behind the slowdown. With Brexit, UK businesses selling to the EU (and vice versa) must make import and security declarations, confirming the origin of their products. The frictionless trade that has underpinned UK-Ireland commerce for a quarter-century is well and truly gone.
When it comes to the movement of food, this is particularly true. Items of plant and animal origin are subject to an added layer of regulatory checks, with veterinary inspectors required to certify a consignment’s contents. This can be a cumbersome process — hence the sorry sight of empty supermarket shelves.
It is but “teething problems,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson; a slightly rough ride in the first official fortnight of Brexit.
The UK’s top supermarket chains don’t exactly agree. An “urgent intervention” is needed to prevent further disruption to Northern Ireland’s food supply, the heads of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Iceland, Co-Op and Marks & Spencer told the government this week.
There are particular concerns around what happens in April when more strenuous tests on food and agricultural products come into force. At that juncture, it may prove uneconomic for stores to operate in Northern Ireland, raising the spectre of price hikes, or even closures.
That seems unlikely, though — the Brexit process has been pockmarked with challenges, but a solution is almost always found. Indeed, though unsettling, the reports of empty shelves weren’t ubiquitous, and it seems shoppers weren’t put at too great an inconvenience.
But the episode belies a deeper issue.
Ireland, commercially speaking, is no longer split North-South but East-West, with a line drawn between the island and Great Britain. That’s hugely symbolic.
While Brexit has undoubtedly inflamed age-old political divides in Ireland, there’s little question that the island is now more economically united than at any other time in the last century.
Small wonder the co-ruling Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — who, this year, will celebrate one hundred years of Northern Ireland’s continued place within the UK — was incandescent at the supermarket debacle.
“[The protocol] has ruined trade in Northern Ireland and it’s an insult to our intelligence to say it’s a teething problem,” fumed DUP lawmaker Ian Paisley Jr in parliament on Wednesday.
His party is pushing for the activation of Article 16 — a safeguard that allows the UK (or EU) to act unilaterally if measures imposed as a result of the protocol are deemed to be causing “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties”. The government has said it won’t hesitate to do so if required, but argues that there hasn’t yet been the need.
Northern Ireland’s Nationalist movement would tend to agree. Triggering Article 16 would be reckless, senior Sinn Féin figures have said, while Stephen Farry, deputy leader of the Alliance Party, this week dismissed DUP fears that schools and hospitals might face food shortages as “scaremongering on steroids”.
Whether that’s right or wrong — and even if commercial hurdles are cleared in the coming months — Brexit’s constitutional ramifications for Ireland are gathering pace.
Brexit: Ed Davey says Lib Dems won’t campaign to rejoin EU
The Liberal Democrats are not the party of rejoining the European Union, Sir Ed Davey has said.
Sunday, 17th January 2021, 12:53 pm
The Lib Dem leader said his party was “very pro-European” and wanted a close relationship with the EU following Brexit, it was “not a rejoin party”.
However, he said that the removal of free movement as a result of the UK leaving the EU is “illiberal” and the case for its reintroduction should be reopened.
His comments came after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer confirmed he would not campaign to restore free movement as it would require extensive renegotiation of the Brexit treaty.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Ed, who was elected as leader last August, said: “We are not a rejoin party, but we are a very pro-European party.
“We believe it is in the interest of the British people, for jobs, small businesses, exporting, Scottish fishermen, for our security and for our police services that we have the closest possible relationship with our European partners, and we’ll be arguing throughout the next few months and years that Britain needs to have a far more pro-European position.”
Pressed on whether the issue of free movement should be reopened with the EU, Sir Ed added: “Yes, I think we should do. Free movement is a huge freedom for British people. British people work across the European Union, they travel, they live, they bring up families across the European Union.
“It is a huge freedom for our young people. I think one of the sadnesses of taking away free movement is it’s very illiberal – it is taking away that freedom from all our British people.”
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Iain Duncan Smith has said that Britain should use its new found control over its own courts after Brexit to ban a trade deal with China. Speaking to Sky News, the Conservative MP said that it was “time the UK led the world” on the issue. Mr Smith is backing an amendment which would allow domestic courts to declare if genocide is occurring in another country.
The amendment would also prevent the UK trading with any country the High Court rules is committing genocidal acts.
While the Government has opposed the amendment, about 30 Tory rebels are expected to back the change to the Trade Bill.
The Trade Bill returns to the House of Commons next week, prompting the former Tory leader to spearhead a “genocide amendment” to the legislation.
Mr Smith said: “We now need to ask our own court. I was keen on Brexit and part of the reason was we wanted UK courts to make decisions like this.”
The MP added: “I want the UK court to give a preliminary decision that on balance do we think countries, such as China with the Uighurs, or Burma with the Rohingya, have committed genocide.
“It is an outrage and it is time the UK led the world on this.”
Mr Smith compared the treatment of the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China to the “ghastly pictures from the 1940s of Jews being shipped off to concentration camps”.
He added: “The British Government should embrace this. Do we want to do a trade deal with a country guilty of genocide? I think not.
“There is no way the UK should reward any country that is ghastly in terms of what it does to its own people with a trade advantage.
“Since the Second World War we have protested about the concept of genocide but literally nothing has ever been done.
“This will send a signal of hope to the Uighurs that the world cares about what is happening to them.”
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He pointed out that the US Senate was looking to follow the UK in drawing up a similar measure.
Tory MP Nusrat Ghani, who is also backing the amendment, said: “We’ve got to be on the right side of history here.
“This is Britain’s first chance outside the EU to show what our values really mean.
“Why on Earth would we want to use our new found freedom to trade with states that commit and profit from genocide? Britain is better than that.”
Also appearing on Ridge, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said reports of human-rights abuses against the Uighur minority group in China were “truly shocking”.
Talking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, he was asked what the UK Government was doing amid accusations that China was holding a million Uighur people in “re-education camps” and women were being forcibly sterilised.
Mr Raab said the UK had recently announced measures to make sure “we don’t have any British businesses that are either supplying to or profiting from the internment camps”.
He added: “I think it’s a shocking, truly shocking, set of circumstances in Xinjiang, against the Uighur Muslims.”
Mr Raab said 38 other countries had followed the UK’s lead in “criticising and condemning human-rights abuses” in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
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