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“Back down in 48hrs or we get tough”, Britain tells France

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Photo: www.thepointng.com

Britain (today) has given France 48 hours to back down in a fishing row that threatens to escalate into a wider trade dispute between 2 of Europe’s biggest economies or face tortuous legal action under the Brexit trade deal.

According to Reuters, Post-Brexit bickering over fish culminated last Wednesday in the French seizure of a British scallop dredger, the Cornelis Gert Jan, in French waters near Le Havre. Paris has threatened sanctions from Nov. 2 that could snarl cross-Channel trade.

The measures could include increased border and sanitary checks on goods from Britain and banning British vessels from some French ports.

“The French have made completely unreasonable threats, including to the Channel Islands and to our fishing industry, and they need to withdraw those threats or else we will use the mechanisms of our trade agreement with the EU to take action,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Sky News.

“If somebody behaves unfairly in a trade deal, you’re entitled to take action against them and seek some compensatory measures. And that is what we will do if the French don’t back down.”

Asked over what time frame France should back down, Truss said: “This issue needs to be resolved in the next 48 hours.”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain had “robust” contingency plans in place if France follows through on the threats.