At least £100,000 of tariffs have been put on Fairtrade bananas from Africa because of Brexit. Several ministers are under pressure to explain why the levies are being charged, despite an announcement that a last-gasp deal was struck between the UK and Ghana on New Year’s Eve. Both banana exporters in the latter country and UK shipping firms are losing money on deliveries, while the crisis continues.
“Thousands of jobs in rural areas will be put at risk,” the head of the Commons international trade committee has warned the government. A shipment from Ghana, due this weekend, was set to pay charges of £20,000 to 25,000, taking total tariffs imposed this month through the £100,000 barrier.
Keith Sadler, managing director of importers Compagnie Fruitiere UK, said his firm was paying weekly tariffs of £20,000, adding: “If you add that up, it would be £1 million over a year. No business can operate with that level of extra costs. This is a serious threat to the banana industry and it needs to be resolved before we have to make difficult decisions.”
The Department for International Trade was unable to say when tariffs would be lifted – and blamed Ghana for failing to “engage with us fully until it was too late”.
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