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Former minister John Redwood dismissed reports of higher food prices as “scaremongering” as the clock ticks down on trade talks between Britain and the EU.
More scaremongering about tariffs
The veteran Tory MP said: “More scaremongering about tariffs.
“Once we leave the EU’s control we decide whether to impose tariffs on imports and our government pockets the money if we do.
“The EU makes us pay high tariffs on non-EU food and they take the money.
“Once out we will be better off on tariffs.”
Mr Redwood’s comments came after the head of Logistics UK – previously the Freight Transport Association – warned a no deal Brexit “has cost implications” which will impact UK consumers “in their pockets”.
Chief executive David Wells told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No doubt the Government will argue that maybe the exporter will reduce their price to give you some sort of compensation.
“Maybe the supplier or the importer may suck up some of the tariff, but in reality, somebody somewhere has to pay for this and in a free trade agreement that with the EU that we have at the moment, there are no tariffs.
“So to go to WTO rules, somebody somewhere is going to pay the tariff and ultimately I believe that will end up at the door of the consumer.
“I’ve often said to our members that every agreement that I’ve seen the EU make in whatever form always goes right to the wire.
“I am hoping for a deal but what I’m really trying to do by answering Michael Gove’s letter is make clear to the public that leaving without a deal has cost implications which will impact them in their pockets and this could be a serious inflationary impact on our economy.”
Trade talks are continuing this week but time is running short if there is to be an agreement before the Brexit transition period comes to a close at the end of the year.
The UK and the EU had previously said they would need to get a deal by mid-October if it was to be implemented in time but reports from Brussels have suggested mid-November might be the latest an agreement could be reached.
Boris Johnson has said that if there is no agreement, Britain will start trading with the bloc on “Australian terms” – shorthand for World Trade Organisation rules without a formal deal.
But the prospect of the imposition of tariffs and quotas has alarmed many businesses already reeling from the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.”
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The main obstacles to a deal remain fishing rights, so-called “level playing field” rules to ensure fair competition and governance arrangements for any agreement.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has delayed his return to Brussels and is expected to remain in the UK until Wednesday to carry on intensive discussions with his British counterpart Lord Frost.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are in now what is an intensive phase of negotiations.
“I wouldn’t wish to pre-empt what’s being discussed.
“It’s the first time that we have been negotiating on legal texts and across all areas at the same time and we have welcomed that fact.
“But there is also much work to be done if we are going to bridge what are the significant gaps that remain between our positions in the most difficult areas and time is very short.
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