Jan 11, 2021
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M&S sees Brexit red tape impacting EU ops, courier firm DPD suspends EU deliveries

Jan 11, 2021

UK retail giant Marks & Spencer has said the UK's new free trade agreement with the EU will "significantly" impact its business in Ireland and franchises in Europe.

Photo: Pixabay

The retailer said its business in Ireland and the Czech Republic and franchises in France would suffer due to tariffs on goods exported to the EU and “very complex administrative processes”, Yahoo!Finance reported the retailer as saying. M&S also said it was “actively working to mitigate” the impact.

Other retailers are reportedly weighing their options, with failed department store Debenhams taking the decision to temporarily shut its Irish website due to the impact of the trade deal.

Outdoor clothing retailer The North Face has also put a notice on its website that “due to customs clearance issues caused by Brexit, the shipment of orders to Northern Ireland are suspended from December 28 until further notice”.

Meanwhile, Brexit red tape has forced parcel courier DPD to suspend its road delivery services to Europe, including to Ireland, Yahoo!Finance also reported.

DPD cited “complex” Brexit procedures that are causing issues as a 20% of parcels are now being sent with "incorrect or incomplete" data, meaning they need to be returned, it said.

In a statement, DPD said: “The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement resulted in more complex processes, and additional customs data requirements for parcels destined for Europe. This, along with delays and congestion at UK ports for channel crossings, has placed extra pressure on our turnaround and transit times".

The company said the pause in operations “will be as short as possible” with intentions to recommence the service” on 13 January, it said.

Leading business groups, meanwhile, have said government ministers must restart trade negotiations with Brussels immediately to sort out the “baffling” array of post-Brexit rules and regulations, the Guardian newspaper reported.

UK manufacturing and trade organisations met minister Michael Gove to discuss problems resulting from the deal struck with the EU before Christmas.

One leading figure involved in the talks said Gove seemed “very concerned” at hearing reports of problems, adding: “He seemed to realise the full gravity of the situation that is unfolding and about to get worse.”

Gove has admitted that there would be “significant additional disruption” at UK borders as a result of Brexit customs changes in the coming weeks.

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, told the newspaper that much was still needed to be negotiated between the UK and EU.

“Industry welcomed the trade agreement that avoided the catastrophe of no-deal, as tariffs and quotas would have been a disaster for exporters. However, this is only a starting point, as there are still substantial issues that need ironing out, with many months, if not years, of tough negotiations ahead".

He added: “There are customs experts with 30 years’ experience who are baffled by what the new regulations mean, let alone small- and medium-sized businesses who have never had to deal with the kind of paperwork that is now required. The great fear is that for many it will prove too much and they will simply choose not to export to the EU”.

The British Retail Consortium has said that at least 50 of its members face potential tariffs for re-exporting goods to the EU.

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