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Brexit, Covid and Climate Colluding to Raise U.K. Food Prices

  • Food, drink imports face average 18% tariff without trade deal
  • Shoppers may pay more at supermarkets even if both sides agree
Inside A Tesco Plc Supermarket As Shoppers Prepare For Christmas
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Supermarket prices in Britain could start increasing in coming months as food supplies get pummeled by a triple whammy of Brexit, Covid-19 and weather-struck harvests.

The U.K. is just 10 weeks from leaving the European Union’s single market, yet there’s still no trade deal between the two sides. If the status quo persists, import taxes averaging 18% will be slapped on meat, produce and beverages coming from the bloc starting Jan. 1. Both sides are aiming for zero tariffs, but there’s a chance they won’t succeed. Either way, logistical burdens will stack up as new checkpoint bureaucracies are created.