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M&S branch in France says post-Brexit rules disrupt ready-meal supplies

A Paris branch of British retailer Marks & Spencer said fresh ready-made pasta dishes were unavailable on Monday because post-Brexit trade rules had disrupted deliveries across the Channel.

5 January 2021, at 8:37am

As of 1 January, goods travelling back and forth between Britain and the European Union are subject to customs and other bureaucratic hurdles that did not previously exist due to the UK's departure from the EU free trade zone on 31 December.

Reuters reports that at the Marks & Spencer store in a shopping centre in the Porte Maillot district of western Paris, a chill cabinet that usually contains fresh ready-made meals was empty late on Monday 4 January, apart from a handful of refrigerated pizzas.

A sign in French on the cabinet read: "Following the latest government directives on the transition of goods between the United Kingdom and France, we have not been able to receive our delivery today. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience."

The head office of Marks & Spencer in London had no immediate comment, and the company which operates the Porte Maillot franchise, SFH Invest group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Items absent from the empty cabinet included chicken and mushroom risotto, and mushroom pappardelle, according to the labels on the shelves.

The rest of the store appeared to be stocked as usual.

So far there has been no congestion at the British port of Dover or in the French port of Calais -- the route for a large part of cross-Channel trade -- and goods seemed to be moving smoothly, officials and trucking operators said.

The traffic flow was lower than usual, however, they said.

A trade deal agreed between Britain and the EU in December avoided tariffs on trade, but did not avoid new red tape.

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