With the United Kingdom having voted to leave the European Union, I have given some thought to how this will affect my business and you my customers.
At first sight not a lot. Britain has been importing tea since 1664, long before the EU was created and will continue to do so. However, the current terms under which imports of tea arrive in the UK is covered by an EU trade agreement. The UK doesn't currently have an agreement with Asian and African countries where tea is grown so a new one will need to be agreed. Given that tea is such a staple of the British way of life I assume that the government will be keen to ensure that tea is imported pretty much as it is now.
For the majority of my overseas customers who live in the European Union, how Brexit (Britain + exit) will affect you is also unclear. Under current arrangements EU customers can order teas knowing that no import duties or taxes will be applied when the parcel arrives. Likewise when I send you tea, I don't have to complete any special export documentation and prepare your order as if sending an item within the UK. This saves me both time and money which helps to keep my prices down. Hopefully any agreement will mean that the existing customs union will be continued.
It will take at least two years before any agreement is reached so in the meantime it is almost business as usual. I say almost because one area that changed enormously in the past few weeks is the deteriorating exchange rate for the pound. In the short term this is good news for all my overseas customers as it means my tea is much cheaper to buy than before. However, as all my tea is imported it will cost more to replace my inventory, so this may mean higher prices for all my customers.
Uncertain times ahead, but for now I will continue to supply my customers with quality teas at sensible prices and thank you for your continued support.