UK settles 2.3 bln trade row with EU
A final payment of 1.1 billion was made this week to resolve the dispute over textiles and footwear imported into Britain from China, Treasury Minister John Glen said.
Since Brexit took full effect three years ago, Britain is no longer bound by European Union rules.
But legacy issues such as the China trade dispute have continued to bedevil ties, to the anger of pro-Brexit right-wingers in the U.K. parliament.
In a written statement to the House of Commons, Glen said the government was “keen to resolve this long-running case once and for all and is committed to fulfilling its international obligations.”
He said the final interest payment due to Brussels would “draw a line” under the issue.
The case dates back to 2017, the year after Britain voted to quit the EU but when it was still part of the bloc pending divorce negotiations.
The EU’s anti-fraud office had accused U.K. authorities of turning a blind eye to customs evasion by traders importing clothes and shoes from China into Britain, and therefore into the bloc’s single market.
“The U.K. has argued throughout the case that it took appropriate steps to counter the fraud in question,” Glen said.
Nevertheless, it wanted to end any prospect of having to hand over more interest payments from prolonging the dispute, he said.