Will my grocery bill go up?
Britain imports a quarter of its food from Europe, so red tape and delays in ports could disrupt supplies of products like mushrooms and lettuce. A major shortage is unlikely, however, as authorities have already postponed the requirements for new papers for food delivery until July.
From this point onwards, the UK must be informed about imports of food of animal origin such as meat, milk and eggs.
Under the terms of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Britain can tariff food from the EU, which could raise prices for the British. For example, imported cheddar could be subject to a 57 percent duty. Food and beverages have an average rate of 18 percent – the equivalent of £ 2 per head in a typical £ 45 shopping basket when the cost is passed on to customers.
Can I still find my favorite foods?
Some EU products may be harder to find when carriers reroute their routes.
If bureaucracy leads to long queues at the border, some perishable foods could struggle to get to supermarket shelves on time – especially because the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables has already been cut due to Covid.
What about travel plans?
Vacationers traveling to the EU must ensure that their passport is valid. The countries of the Schengen area require that passports for visitors from non-EU countries are valid for at least six months.
They also require passports to be issued within ten years, so it may affect Brits whose passports have additional months over previous passports. The government has already advised anyone planning to travel to EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland from January to check that their passports comply with these rules, regardless of whether a trade agreement has been signed. If you've followed this advice, your plans shouldn't be disrupted in a no-deal scenario.
Travelers may need additional documentation when driving in Europe and you will need to check with your mobile operator to see if there are any roaming charges.
Do I need health insurance when traveling to Europe?
Yes. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is no longer valid, so vacationers traveling to EU countries need to get their own health insurance. The government says this will be the case with or without an agreement. The EHIC covered pre-existing conditions, but many insurance policies did not.
Do I have to worry about my bank account or credit card?
Not if you live in the UK and have a UK bank account. However, thousands of expats in EU countries have been told that their UK checking accounts and credit cards will be closed at the end of the year as UK banks face complex paperwork for accounts with customers in the EU when regulations end in January.
Can I still get my prescription medication?
There is good news here. Medicines were classified as extremely important "Category 1 goods". This means that additional preparations have been made to ensure an interruption in supply. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has ruled out border delays for any Covid vaccine. Haseeb Ahmad, president of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Association, told The Mail on Sunday evening that the pharmaceutical companies had been holding supplies for up to three months to avoid bottlenecks. There are no customs duties for the import of pharmaceuticals – even if no agreement is reached.
How will this affect UK companies selling products to the EU?
Great Britain would trade with the EU via WTO rules – at least until a large number of smaller deals can be concluded.
Currently, UK businesses can sell goods and services duty-free in EU markets with minimal border controls. The same applies to EU companies that sell here.
Under WTO terms, the UK could introduce quotas and tariffs on goods imported from the EU. This could help protect key UK markets and make imported goods more expensive to buy here. The EU could do the same for our exports and hurt UK companies trying to sell on the continent.
Are UK Jobs at Risk?
There have been warnings of hundreds of thousands of job losses, but much will depend on how individual companies react.
Some sectors will perform worse than others – but small businesses that focus solely on the UK market might even see a boost. Automakers in particular have warned that No Deal would cost them £ 100 billion over five years, which would lead to layoffs. Under WTO rules, tariffs could add £ 2,700 to a UK car sold in the EU. Tariffs for delivery vans and trucks could increase prices by 22 percent, making competition more difficult. Automakers also fear parts supply chains will be disrupted and have set up inventory and bookings on planes in case ports are blocked.
What does it mean for our manufacturers?
The EU is the largest export market for UK manufacturers – from chemical manufacturing companies to electronics and vehicles. The biggest consequence of WTO terms would be a transition from zero to higher tariffs.
Another problem is the impact on just-in-time supply chains, where materials are brought into the country just before they are needed, reducing inventory levels and lowering storage costs. Longer customs controls can disrupt this.
UK firms may also need to prove that most of their products come from the UK – not easy for companies with global supply chains.
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