Britain was “negligent” in applying European Union customs and import rules from 2011 to 2017, leading to lost revenues for the bloc, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud office, has argued more than half of all clothes and shoes that were brought in from China to the UK over that period were undervalued. The agency is now demanding the UK to cover these losses, according to a report in The Guardian.
The bloc’s anti-fraud office claimed the method used by British officials to calculate the value of goods was “inadequate” and had led to a “shift of fraudulent operations from other Member States to the United Kingdom”.
The final number the EU will be able to demand from the UK may be slightly different as the ECJ’s method to calculate the lost revenues was “incorrect,” according to Politico.
Now the EU has been brutally mocked on social media over the latest clash with the UK, with “Gully Foyle #UKTrade” (@TerraOrBust) writing: “Aw, is someone missing Treasure Island?”
This stems from Germany having previously reportedly habitually referring to the UK as “Treasure Island”.
But post-Brexit tensions between the UK and EU could be about to escalate even further, with The Telegraph also reporting the failure to fully apply the rules was a “sensitive” issue.
This was because the EU had allowed the UK to police and its own customs framework on the Irish Sea border as part of the now hotly-disputed Northern Ireland Protocol, which has driven an even wider wedge between the two sides.
Paul Woodward, a customs and trade specialist at the Institute of Export & International Trade, explained the riling from the ECJ showed “even countries can fall foul” of fraud i relation to global trade and end up having to pay out huge sums.
The expert has advised businesses to pay close attention to compliance with customs and VAT rules.
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As a result, trade with the UK delivered 69 percent of EU’s entire trade surplus with the rest of the world, which totalled £175.4billion, Facts4EU.org suggested.
The analysis had also indicated, for the 12-month period, trade data showed the EU has been selling an average of £691million worth of goods to the UK every day.
There was also a significant gap between what the EU’s 27 member states sold to the UK – and what Britain sells to the EU27 – with the bloc’s sales to the UK 91 percent higher than Britain’s sales to the bloc.