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Teaching activity

In the News Teaching Activity – the implementation of post-Brexit non-tariff barriers to trade to increase business costs (Jan 2024)

Elizabeth Veal

5th February 2024

The government has implemented the much-delayed, new post-Brexit customs controls, such health checks for food and flowers for goods entering the UK from the EU at the end of January.

Post-Brexit controls on food, plant, and animal imports to Britain from the EU have just been implemented, requiring export health certificates on "medium risk" animal and plant products, such as meat, fish, cheese, fruit, veg and cut flowers. Physical inspections at borders will start in April. The government itself has estimated that this will add more than £330m per annum to the cost of trading with the EU. Several industry bodies have expressed concerns about increased costs and delays in supply chains, though the controls may help protect UK farmers' competitiveness and secure the UK’s biodiversity. The government has tried to emphasis minimising the burdens to businesses, but it is difficult to see how the erection of these non-tariff barriers (NTBs) with the UK’s important trading partner, the EU, will carry a net benefit. Many small businesses, such as florists, are worried about how their profits will be affected. Higher costs could mean higher prices and even the government expects the new NTBs to add 0.2 percentage points to inflation over the next three years.

Post-Brexit controls on food and farm imports start - BBC News

1 What are non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs)?

2 Explain how the new NTBs could add to the rate of inflation?

3 Assess the impact of the introduction of the fresh flower ‘health’ checks on the profits of a small florist’s business. Use a diagram.

Download our suggested answers for this resource here

Elizabeth Veal

Liz has taught Economics for over 25 years, including several years as Head of Economics at leading schools.

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