Cost of food and drink likely to shoot up significantly in case of a no-deal Brexit

Consider this snapshot: last year the UK imported food and drink worth 48 billion pounds, 71% of which were not subject to tariffs.

As per the results of a study commission by Barclays that was released on Thursday, food suppliers and retailers stand to lose $12.2 billion (9.3 billion pounds) as a result of new tariffs, if Britain were to leave the EU without a deal.

Last week, with British Prime Minister Theresa May warning Brexit negotiations with EU leaders were at an impasse, the prospect of a “no-deal” Brexit has caught the public’s attention.

According to Barclays’ report, food and drinks entering the UK from the EU would be subject to a new average tariff of 27%, up from the current 3%-4%.

“Some products would avoid tariffs, even in a no-deal scenario, but for most goods the effect of an increased tariff burden would be extremely damaging, and cheaper goods would be the hardest hit,” said Ian Gilmartin, Head of Retail at Barclays Corporate Banking.

In 2017, the UK imported food and drink worth a whopping 48 billion pounds, which is roughly 40% of the total British market.

Significantly, 71% of these imports were from the European Union and so were not subject to tariffs.

“A positive agreement on trade is essential if we are to protect UK exporters and avoid significant price rises for UK consumers,” said Gilmartin.

According to the report, the food and drink sector would face among the highest tariffs in case of a no-deal Brexit; frozen beef would face levies of nearly 300% and orange juice 180%.

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