The British government will pay £2.3 billion to the European Union after losing a long-running trade dispute over cheap Chinese imports.
The disagreement over the importation of Chinese textiles and footwear stems back to 2017, when it was claimed the UK had failed to prevent the undervaluing of these goods, letting criminals evade customs duties by making false claims about the clothes and shoes.
In March last year, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) found against the UK “on most liability points”, according to John Glen, the chief secretary to the Treasury.
It found that more than half of all textiles and footwear imported into the UK from China were below “the lowest acceptable prices”.
The European Commission has been seeking £1.7 billion in compensation from the UK to the EU budget.
In June last year, the government made an initial payment of €678,372,885.63 – which it says was the “minimum, indisputable amount the UK considered due at that time in light of the CJEU judgment”.
Last month, the government forked out another €700,351,738.31 – the rest of the headline amount owed, minus the share the UK was due back having been a member state.
But Glen went on to say that a final payment of more than a billion was made this week – of €1,227,884,519.53.
This was the interest due on the amounts already paid so in total, the bill was €2,606,609,143.47 – equivalent to more than £2.3 billion.
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