Brexit trade deal failure emerges – France insists UK ‘must follow EU rules’

Brexit deal ‘limits’ UK’s ‘ability to be sovereign’ says Beaune

Speaking to Bloomberg, the French politician argued the UK has agreed to give up on parts of its sovereign ability to decide on EU rules in exchange for access to the bloc’s market. Mr Beaune said Brussels will continue to insist and demonstrate that remaining in the “club” will always be the best option, in a bid to belittle Brexit. He said: “We want to insist that the UK has secured access to the EU market which we were ready to provide for.

“But respecting our rules and our standards which limits their ability to be fully sovereign.

“But that’s the balance they chose. And I think in a way, it’s not the greatest situation.

“They will have access to the market but they will not decide on the rules of this big EU market.

“I think it’s much better, and we should be demonstrating it and insist on it, to be within the club and to be able to decide on the rules.”

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It comes as French fishmongers and seafood factories are suspending orders from Britain and battling to salvage just-in-time supply chains after they were upended by post-Brexit red tape that impedes next-day delivery of salmon and lobster from Britain to Europe.

Importers in Boulogne-sur-Mer told Reuters that deliveries were sometimes being held up because the Latin names of fish species were incorrectly entered on papers.

Other reasons for delays included sanitary certificates missing the required stamps and French agents adopting a zero-tolerance approach to mistakes in the cumbersome process.

The result is a chaotic breakdown in supply chains from the outer reaches of the British Isles to the northern French port of Boulogne, which used to see Scottish langoustine and scallops in French shops just over a day after they were harvested.

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Deliveries were taking at least one or two days longer than previously if they got through at all.

“We’ve never known such delays,” said Arnaud Mille, head of sourcing at Demarne Freres, who counts Britain as his number one supplier. “It’s been apocalyptic.”

Now in its second week, the disruption meant it was almost impossible for importers to place orders in a truck carrying multiple consignments from different suppliers.

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Mille said he had sent an SMS message to French customs officials asking them to go easy while the industry learned to navigate the new bureaucracy, but was yet to receive a response.

The delays mean seafood is not always hitting European markets as fresh as it once did. In a consignment of English-caught crab that arrived at Mille’s warehouse a day late on Saturday, 20% of the crustaceans had perished.

Brexit had undone decades of cooperation to finesse the supply chain, some importers in Boulogne, Europe’s biggest fish processing centre, said.

“We’ve lost 30 years,” said Mille.

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