Frictionless trade essential for UK food industry post Brexit - Asda booss

Frictionless trading of goods is an imperative for the UK's food industry following Brexit, the new chief executive of supermarket giant Asda has claimed.

Asda chief executive Roger Burley. 23rd March 2018.
Asda chief executive Roger Burley. 23rd March 2018.

In his first media interview since assuming control of the firm in January, Roger Burnley told The Yorkshire Post that he wanted Asda to buy more British foods but that the easy transfer of goods was crucial to this.

Mr Burnley also said winning the trust of customers was one of his top priorities for his leadership of the Leeds-based firm

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He said: “We want to buy British. Our customers tell us that is what they want and there is good reason to support our farming industry.

“Of course Brexit is a big headline.

“The biggest thing we will need and what I will want for Asda from Brexit is friction-free borders and a friction-free process so we can bring in our fresh products in quickly.”

He added: “The bodies representing us are well aware that friction-free trading, not just for our industry but especially for the food industry, is going to be really important.

“I am confident that the right people understand that.

What now for Brexit?

“That certainly is an imperative for us and that is certainly thing that I will be vocal about being an outcome.”

The Asda boss would not be drawn on whether the firm was drawing up contingency plans for a so-called cliff edge Brexit.

Elsewhere Mr Burnley said Asda and the other large supermarkets had received “a wake-up call” from the rise of discounters like Aldi and Lidl.

What now for Brexit?