Daily Management Review

The EU: United Kingdom owes nearly € 2 billion customs duties


The European Union is accusing London of customs fraud. Because of unfair operations, the EU budget lose 2 billion euros, experts say.

Danny Howard
Danny Howard
According to OLAF, the European Commission's Anti-Fraud Office, the UK owes the EU about 2 billion euros. This amount appeared as a result of unfair operations with customs duties. As the agency said on Wednesday, March 8, OLAF recommends that Brussels request this amount from the government of Great Britain. The Anti-Fraud Office assumes that for several years London has done nothing to prevent import of textile goods and footwear from China to the European Union below the cost. 

Thanks to "fictitious and falsified accounts", as well as "incorrectly customs declarations" compiled in 2013-2016, Chinese goods were delivered to Europe via the UK. Total amount of damage to the European budget from unpaid duties is assessed to 1.99 billion euros. At the same time, according to the OLAF, the UK has not stopped such practices.

The decision on financial claims against London will be taken by the European Commission. A representative of the British government said that the OLAF's assertions are "currently being checked." London believes that these departments are not a "calculation", but an "assessment". However, the British customs authorities take all the allegations of possible fraud seriously and will carefully investigate them.

Recall, the Upper House of the British Parliament gave a "green light" to Prime Minister Theresa May to begin the Brexit procedure. 274 votes against 118 proved that a bill passed earlier by the lower house was approved. The lords did not re-introduce amendments rejected by the House of Commons. The government opposed the amendments, and a chance of obtaining their approval was negligible.

Now, the authorities need only signature of Queen Elizabeth II for the document to entry into force. Theresa May will be able to send to Brussels a request for withdrawal of London from the EU under the 50th article of the Lisbon Treaty. 

The Ministry of Finance of Great Britain predicts that the country will experience "a powerful economic shock" in the event that London will have to take tough conditions for withdrawing from the EU. "The United Kingdom will have less access to a single European market than Pakistan, Rwanda or Yemen," says an unpublished report of the agency quoted by The Independent. If London fail to agree on a new agreement with the EU, the country will conduct economic and trade relations with European partners according to standards of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This will affect 80% of goods and services produced in the UK. In this case, exports of British agricultural products to the EU countries will be carried out with new tariffs at the average level of 14.4%, and non-agricultural products - at 4.3%. Such tariffs, according to the Ministry of Finance, are capable of undermining competitiveness of British companies.

Referendum on leaving the EU was held on June 23, 2016, on which the opponents of Euro integration won with 51.9%. 

source: dw.de

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