© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s just lately appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaves Downing Street after the cupboard assembly, in London, Britain September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
By Guy Faulconbridge and Alistair Smout
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain advised France on Monday that it should back down inside 48 hours in a fishing row that threatens to spiral right into a wider commerce dispute or face tortuous authorized motion underneath the Brexit commerce deal.
France says Britain has refused to grant its fishermen the proper variety of licences to function in British waters and has mentioned it may impose focused measures from Tuesday, together with tightening some checks on vehicles transferring between the neighbours.
Britain says it’s issuing licences to vessels that may show they’ve beforehand fished in UK waters.
The row intensified final week when the French seized a British dredger, the Cornelis Gert Jan, in French waters close to Le Havre, saying it didn’t have the required licences, although the boat’s proprietor mentioned it had all the suitable paperwork.
“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,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss advised Sky News.
“The French have behaved unfairly. It’s not within the terms of the trade deal. And 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,” Truss mentioned.
Asked over what timeframe France ought to back down, Truss mentioned: “This issue needs to be resolved in the next 48 hours.”
The row additionally dangers being a distraction on the COP26 local weather summit which started in Scotland on Sunday.
Paris has mentioned it may ban British fishing boats from unloading in French ports, perform extra licence checks on British vessels, tighten controls of vehicles and reinforce customs and hygiene controls if talks fail.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned on Sunday he had been “puzzled” to learn a letter from Paris to the European Union. Sent by French Prime Minister Jean Castex, it referred to as on the bloc to exhibit there was “more damage to leaving the EU than to remaining there”.
The fishing concern dogged Brexit talks for years, not due to its financial significance however due to its political significance. If not resolved, it may set off the start of dispute measures in the Brexit commerce deal as early as this week.
When requested why the fishing concern, an extended supply of discord between France and Britain, had once more soured ties, Truss urged it may need one thing to do with subsequent yr’s presidential election in France.
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