Sunday 21 February 2021 2:43 pm

Brexit: UK considers tit-for-tat retaliation against EU's British shellfish ban

The UK could restrict the import of mineral water and other products from EU countries in retaliation for Brussels’ Brexit ban on British shellfish exports.

The EU confirmed three weeks ago that a temporary ban on a range of shellfish – including mussels, clams, scallops and cockles – would be made permanent as they are deemed to come from polluted waters.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that the UK is now considering ending a series of post-Brexit continuity agreements it has with Brussels in retaliation, which could restrict imports of European mineral water and seed potatoes.

A government source said: “There is thought being given to where we can leverage in other areas.

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“We have continuity arrangements… we can stop these which means they won’t be able to sell their produce here.”

Planning for retaliatory moves reportedly came after European Commissioner for health and food safety refused to meet environment secretary George Eustice to try and resolve the shellfish ban.

EU rules mandate that some types of shellfish that are imported into the bloc must either come from unpolluted waters or be purified before being sold.

UK waters do not fall into this category and most exporters used to send their produce to EU countries to get purified.

It is not cost effective to purify shellfish in the UK and sell onto the EU as the process significantly shortens the shelf life of the product.

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