- Fiona Dawson says failure to strike post-Brexit trade deal would hurt both sides
- Warned prices of products such as chocolate and chewing gum would go up
- Pleaded with EU chiefs not to 'punish' Britain for deciding to leave Brussels club
Prices of much-loved chocolate bars such as Galaxy, Snickers, Bounty and Twix will increase if the EU 'punishes' the UK in Brexit negotiations, global good giant Mars has warned.
Fiona Dawson, president of the US firm, said failure to strike a new trade deal with the Brussels club would be damaging to both sides.
In a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, she said the cost of higher tariffs would need to be passed on to consumers and threaten the supply chain across the continent.
Alongside chocolate, that could potentially also hit products such as Wrigley's chewing gum, Dolmio, Uncle Ben's rice, and even Whiskas cat food.
Mars president Fiona Dawson is warning that prices of popular chocolate bars could go up if the EU chooses to 'punish' Britain in negotiations
Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 and formally begin Brexit negotiations as early as next week.
The food industry is keen to make its voice heard ahead of the talks, after debate so far largely focused on the risks to the City and car manufacturing.
Ms Dawson will point out that food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, and is almost as big as the car and aerospace industries combined.
Mars employs some 3,800 in the UK and more than 18,000 people across Europe as a whole.
But Ms Dawson will say its manufacturing and supply network relies heavily on the absence of tariffs.
'The return of those barriers would create higher costs which would threaten that supply chain and the jobs that come with it,' she said.
She will say that if there is 'hard Brexit' and the UK falls back on World Trade Organisation rules, tariffs would revert to 30 per cent for confectionery, 20 per cent for animal products, over 15 per cent for cereals and more than 10 per cent for fish and fruit.
'Unfortunately there is no way that those costs could be absorbed without flowing through to consumers in the form of higher prices,' she will say.
Ms Dawson stressed that the UK and EU will still be 'critical markets' for each other's businesses after Brexit.
Theresa May, pictured at a Brussels summit last night, could trigger Article 50 and begin the formal Brexit process as early as next week
Bounty is another one of the Mars brands that could become more expensive if the EU insists on a 'hard' Brexit
In a plea to Brussels powerbrokers, she said: 'There can be no economic advantage either side restricting trade with a large market situated on its doorstep.
'In simple terms, if the UK and the EU fail to agree on a new preferential deal, it will be to the detriment of all...
'Other member states should remember this is not about 'punishing' Britain for her decision to withdraw but rather about finding the best solution for European and UK workers andconsumers. That consideration must come first as we build the future.'
Despite the company opposing Brexit, Ms Dawson will say the company remains committed to the UK.
'Our presence in Europe, including in the UK, is a proud legacy that we wish to maintain,' Ms Dawson is expected to say.
Other Mars products such as Whiskas cat food would also see price rises, according to the firm's president
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