BRC takes stand on trade quotas
Retailers and suppliers are uniting to push for change on EU trade quotas.

For the first time, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is bringing the two sides together to challenge the EU's use of quotas and import duties.

The BRC's move to bring the parties together comes in response to trade commissioner Peter Mandelson's series of changes to the Trade Defense Instruments.

A BRC spokesman said: 'We are against the protectionist zeal of the paper, which seems to be more in favour of protectionism than of free trade.'

The jointly commissioned challenge to the paper will be presented at a European Parliament conference today and put forward for the lobbying of the European Commission report. The conference will be attended by manufacturers and retailers including Tesco, Nike and Philips.

The joint forces are demanding that the commission be more transparent and that it creates a more stable environment, enabling them to focus on customer needs and achieving competitive prices, rather than shifting import duties.

BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins will speak at the event. He said: 'We are not saying trade sanctions are never justified, but there must be a much wider assessment of the impacts. The effect on customers is too often ignored.'

The European Commission adopted a green paper in December last year, in light of emerging changes in the global economy to defend its producers against unfairly traded imports and dramatic shifts in trade flows.