Mars says chocolate prices will rise after Brexit if the UK doesn't get a good trade deal

 
Rebecca Smith
Mars' boss has put the Brexit focus on food and drink
Mars' boss has put the Brexit focus on food and drink (Source: Getty)

Those with a sweet tooth should look away now.

For the global president of Mars has warned that chocolate prices could rise if the UK doesn't secure a good trade deal after Brexit.

Fiona Dawson said the absence of a deal with EU member states would mean tariffs of up to 30 per cent for the industry.

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No hard borders in Europe with "all their attendant tariff, customs and non-tariff barriers" allows for an integrated supply chain "which helps keep costs down", Dawson said: "The return of those barriers would create higher costs which would threaten that supply chain and the jobs that come with it."

Speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, she said those costs can't be absorbed by confectionery firms, so consumers will have to pay more.

Dawson also warned that failure to negotiate a successful Brexit deal wouldn't just stunt Europe's future prosperity, but the wider world too.

She said politicians needed to unite on "common economic interests" and recognise that imposing trade barriers will "ultimately hurt everyone and undermine, rather than strengthen, European unity". Failing to agree on a new deal "will be to the detriment of all", she said.

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Mars, which makes the likes of Maltesers, Whispas and Snickers, has factories spread across the UK and Europe with ingredients transported between its EU sites.

Dawson said the firm remains committed to the UK and it announced a £23m investment into its Norfolk factory after the Brexit vote. It employs 3,800 people in the UK and more than 18,000 across Europe in total.

She said financial and automotive sectors have been the focus following the Brexit vote and she wanted to put the spotlight on food and drink as the largest manufacturing sector in the UK (accounting for 16 per cent of turnover).

Theresa May has confirmed Britain leave the Single Market, but will be looking for a new free trade agreement.

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