Chamber concerned at cross-border ‘contraband’
The Chamber of Commerce has highlighted the rise in the number of local traders who go to Spain on a daily basis to purchase their provisions and then bypass all standards and regulations when coming back into Gibraltar.
In its annual report the Chamber said the policing of this ‘contraband’ is essential and highlighted public health concerns.
“It is not unknown for perishable or frozen items to be imported in the boot of a car and not adhering to health standards,” the report stated.
Additionally, unregistered Spanish traders who come to ply their wares in Gibraltar continue to be a cause of concern for the local business community.
According to the business network, these businesses arrange for their vans to come into Gibraltar to carry out multiple deliveries in town to the detriment of local wholesalers.
A related matter is the increase in virtual businesses which undergo the local licensing process but in reality are just ‘token setups’ as their main structures remain in Spain.
The Chamber explained that competing with these ventures on price is virtually impossible for local companies and in the medium to long run awarding contracts to the lowest bid or cheapest price weakens the local commercial infrastructure.
“It is local companies which create the sustainable wealth for the economy as their employees pay the taxes and social insurance to the government.”
“It is local businesses which pay local rents, rates and utilities and this is then circulated within the economy, not siphoned off elsewhere.”
Through its report the Chamber explained that Brexit has brought an element of uncertainty and additional pressure to the business community as a whole with the wholesale sector being no exception
It added that with logistical concerns like the importation of goods through the land frontier to access into the jurisdiction for the workforce who live in Spain, the route of the problem boils down to the fluidity at the border post Brexit.