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Boris Johnson to introduce tit-for-tat import bans after EU shellfish snub | UK | News




The Prime Minister is reportedly furious after EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides snubbed a request to meet with Environment Secretary George Eustice in a bid to resolve the issue. In what is now dubbed the “water war,” the government is evaluating proposals to restrict imports of mineral water and European seed potatoes. The EU currently has a temporary agreement allowing it to continue importing seed potatoes until the end of June.

A Downing Street source told The Telegraph: “We are thinking about what we can tap into in other areas.

“We have continuity agreements … we can stop them, which means they won’t be able to sell their products here.”

The dispute stems from a European directive earlier this year that indefinitely banned British fishermen from selling live mussels, oysters, clams, cockles and scallops to its member states.

Number 10 has previously said it believes restrictions on shellfish exports will end on April 21.

Ministers were led to believe that Brussels would change its rules to allow unpurified shellfish from non-member states to enter its markets on that date.

Most UK shellfish are considered ‘unpurified’ due to a lack of so-called ‘Class A’ waters in and around the UK – the cleanest category.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak warned tax increases were ‘signal not to invest’ in Britain

The government was quick to announce that it would provide financial support to fishermen and exporters affected by the ban.

They will now be allowed to apply for funds under the £ 23million support package the Cabinet has put in place to help the fishing industry through the Brexit transition.

The grants will start in March and cover three months of average fixed costs.

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