Thursday 3 December 2020 10:41 am

Tesco CEO: Movement of product is the biggest Brexit issue

The movement of products across borders is the biggest issue facing supermarkets because of Brexit, not food price inflation, the chief executive of Tesco has said.

Speaking on Sky News today, CEO Ken Murphy said: “The biggest challenge we face really is the movement of product between borders, the movement of product between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of course between mainland Europe and the UK.”

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Murphy asked the government for clarity on the matter so businesses could start to better prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period, which is now just four weeks away. He added he did not think food price inflation would be the biggest issue. 

The Tesco chief said the business was prepared to continue operating whether Britain secured a free trade deal with the European Union or not, but was worried about the movement of stock into the country. 

Brexit talks between the UK and EU are ongoing, and with the transition period coming to an end on 1 January 2021, time is running out to secure a deal. 

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If a deal is not agreed and ratified by parliaments by the end of the year, the UK will go into 2021 trading with the bloc on World Trade Organization rules, which critics fear cause issues at the border.

On WTO terms new hurdles will be required to move products across borders, making the process more laborious.

There has also been concern that lorries could be refused entry into the EU, and that long tail-backs at the ports, through which much of the UK’s trade with the EU flows, slows down and disrupts the supply chains between UK and EU businesses.