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BRC slates crockery tax

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The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has criticised the EU's decision to place heavy taxes on Chinese crockery and kitchen equipment, warning that it could have a negative impact on the UK restaurant sector and lead to an increase in operating costs for many businesses.

The European Commission announced the duties earlier in the month, despite criticism from a number of member states.

Under the new taxation regime, between 17.6 and 58.8 per cent will be added to the dockside price of ceramic items such as plates, cups and oven dishes when arriving in the EU from China.

While the organisation claims that a nine-month investigation has shown China to be selling these goods at artificially low prices, potentially undercutting domestic manufacturing, critics have noted that importers will need to increase prices under the new system.

This will be passed on to retailers, and ultimately to customers, placing more pressure on the already beleaguered hospitality industry.

Some 50 per cent of EU ceramic table and kitchenware comes from China in value terms, while on the basis of volume roughly 80 per cent of this type of equipment is sourced from Asia.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "Let's be clear - these new duties will feed through to higher prices in stores. And because China mainly supplies the value end of the market, they will deny less well-off customers access to affordable crockery."

He added the idea that this will boost European manufacturing is fundamentally misguided, because domestic producers are not capable of producing goods at low enough prices to meet the demand of low-end buyers.

"Our members tell us that the only alternative for them, if they're forced to look elsewhere, will be to source from other low-cost Asian countries," added Mr Robertson.

Global information services company Experian's latest BusinessIQ Insolvency Index showed hospitality insolvencies have fallen but the organisation urged companies to keep cutting costs.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801496310-ADNFCR

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