Britain gives France 48 hours to ‘back down’ in post-Brexit fishing dispute

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Nov. 1 (UPI) — British officials on Monday gave their counterparts in France 48 hours to end a dispute over rich fishing waters that’s turned into a high-profile game of tit-for-tat on European trade.

For weeks, British and French officials have been at odds over fishing in waters not far off Britain’s coast — with Paris saying French fishermen aren’t receiving enough licenses to fish there, and London accusing France of improper threats to ban certain British vessels from its ports.

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Both sides have accused the other of violating the post-Brexit trade agreement between the European Union and Britain.

Monday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said France has 48 hours to drop their demands and threats or London will seek legal action.

“They need to withdraw those threats. Or else we will use the mechanisms of our trade agreement with the EU to take action,” she told Sky News.

“That is what we will do if the French don’t back down.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday granted dozens of additional fishing licenses on top of the 113 already given to French vessels.

British fishers don’t want any new fishing vessels in the waters for fear that they could hinder the British industry. France says Britain isn’t living up to the trade deal it made with the EU before it left the alliance.

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Nearly 1,700 European Union boats are licensed to fish in British waters.