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On Christmas Eve, Boris Johnson landed a historic Brexit trade deal with the European Union days before the transition period ended. The agreement was based on zero tariffs and zero quotas.
But M&S has revealed their famous sweets are among the more than 2,000 products which have been affected by the “rules of origin” regulations.
Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S, hit out at the deal saying “tariff-free” is not tariff-free “when you read the fine print”.
He said: “About a third of the products in our food business are subject to complex rules of origin around componentry and how much has been altered in the UK.
“Depending on that, there is a variable rate of tariff on goods.
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“Tariff-free does not feel like tariff-free when you read the fine print.”
He explained how its best-selling Percy Pigs are manufactured in Germany and brought to the UK before being re-exported to Ireland.
This means they will now be subject to import taxes.
According to the Guardian, the free trade agreement has spared M&S domestic business from tariffs.
But warns it would “significantly impact” the retailer in Ireland as well as France and the Czech Republic.
Mr Rowe added the “scope and complexity” of the rule means many retailers will have to “find an expensive workaround”.
A spokesperson for Revenue told the Irish Times “no tariffs will apply if goods entering the EU from the UK are proven to be of UK origin and a request for preferential treatment has been included on the customs declaration.
“Similarly, no tariffs will apply if goods being exported to the UK from the EU are proven to be of EU origin.”
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William Bain, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) trade policy adviser, said he was looking for short-term options.
He said he was “seeking dialogue with the Government and the EU on longer-term solutions to mitigate the effects of new tariffs”.
Mr Bain added: “We need a solution which genuinely reflects the needs of UK-EU supply and distribution chains for goods.”
Under the agreement, online shoppers will not face additional import charges unless the value of goods exceeds €22.
Costumers will be also charged customs duty and VAT if the value of the goods is more than €150.
The Revenue source added how consumers in Ireland “need to be vigilant when buying goods from the UK (excluding Northern Ireland).
“Consumers need to be sure of what they are buying, where the good(s) originated from and the T&Cs provided by the supplier in relation to returns and refunds.
“Goods coming from Great Britain are regarded as imports and Irish VAT will apply if the value of the good(s) is over €22.
“This position stands even if consumer are charged UK VAT on their purchase.
“In this instance the consumer will need to seek a refund of the UK VAT from the supplier.”
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