Britain finally left the EU at the end of Brexit the transition period in December last year and Spain has been one of the hardest hit EU countries. Figures indicate that British food and beverage exports to Spain have decreased by 54 percent this year compared to 2019, which costs industry about 2 billion euros.
Inge Barker, who runs A Taste of Home, a chain of British grocery stores in Spain, has collapsed at the extra controls involved in buying products from the UK.
Barker has three stores in Barcelona, Sitges and Cubelles and has condemned delivery issues and increased costs.
She told The Local Spain: “We have definitely felt it, Brexit has not been good for our business.
“With reduced exports, extra costs and bureaucracy, it is a total disaster.
“I have three stores and lots of staff, at the moment they are my top priority.”
The EU has carried out full controls on British goods moving to the block since early January – including health certificates for certain animal products.
Controls of goods going the other way have been continuously delayed to give companies more time to adapt and will not be in place until at least July 2022.
Spain is still a popular destination for British expats and holidaymakers, which has driven continued demand for British products.
She added: “If you want a traditional British Christmas ticket in Spain this year, you have to buy your products early.”
The Spanish retail manager acknowledged that there is a greater problem of dependence on British companies and lack of competition from EU suppliers.
Barker added: “Most of our products are English and that’s what our customers want, so we can not always get alternatives from Ireland.
“However, transport is cheaper directly from Ireland, but we still have to pay import duties and VAT if we buy products from there, so that does not make it much cheaper.”