Amazon halts alcohol sales in Northern Ireland over new Brexit custom rules

Amazon has reportedly halted sales of wines, beers and spirits in Northern Ireland and is preparing to de-list more products due to new Brexit customs rules.

The online retailer is concerned that excise duty will now have to be paid twice on shipments of alcohol which are sent from the British mainland across the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland, ITV reports.

Britain left the European Union’s single market and customs union on New Year’s Eve, introducing paperwork and customs declarations for those businesses that import and export goods with the bloc.

In order to keep the border open between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, a separate agreement was struck that requires a regulatory border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Amazon told ITV in a statement: “We are planning and preparing for April 1st end of the grace period so we can continue to serve our customers in Northern lreland who count on Amazon with the broadest possible selection of products.”

It comes after Brits slapped with extra bills when buying things online from Europe are venting their anger at this new “Brexit tax”.

At the same time, some UK retailers are considering abandoning or burning goods returned by EU customers as it’s easier and cheaper than bringing them back into the country, an industry boss said.

Donna Scully tweeted: “So my usual order from Germany now costs extra 1/3 because of Brexit tax and took much longer!

“Is that what people wanted? Feel isolated on a small minded island where I can no longer shop in EU without spending dead money I’d rather donate to charity. What have we done!”

The BBC reports the Brexit trade deal has seen many European customers rejecting goods imported from the UK after being presented with unexpected customs charges when signing for them.

The broadcaster cites figures from Statista showing about 30% of items bought online are returned, meaning large volumes of goods are turned around.

Retailers are then met with more customs paperwork and charges upon the goods’ arrival back in the UK, with UK Fashion & Textile Association chief Adam Mansell telling the BBC it is “cheaper for retailers to write off the cost of the goods than dealing with it all, either abandoning or potentially burning them”.

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