EUROPE is poised to slap huge tariffs on British imports despite such a move being likely to ignite a ferocious trade war across the continent. Experts warn the move is distinct “possibility”, but have insisted preventing British goods from entering the EU would lead to catastrophic consequences for the Union.
Insiders revealed the EU is looking at bullying the UK into giving the bloc free access to the UK markets while potentially denying or restricting access for British exports with tariffs.
The plans were said to have been put forward by the European Commission.
But such a move would bring the bloc and Britain to the brink of a trade war, which could even lead to repercussions within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Professor Jens Holscher, Chair in Accounting, Finance & Economics at the University of Bournemouth, said: “Blocking imports isn’t in the interest of the EU or the UK.
“From a legal point of view, it would be a very, very dangerous act, as WTO rules don’t allow anyone to block imports unless they are able to show that the counterpart is causing damage or that the block is in their interest and can’t be avoided.
The UK is such an important market for German manufacturers, they don’t have the desire to cut their economic ties
This means the EU would not be allowed to discriminate against the UK specifically, as such a move could be seen as a punishment against the country for leaving the bloc.
Prof Holscher added: “This scenario is also unrealistic from a financial point of view.
“It is not in the interest of the UK or the EU to put an end to their economic exchanges.
“The UK is, for example, such an important market for German manufacturers, they don’t have the desire to cut their economic ties.”
The EU has significantly stepped up pressure on the UK this week after Brussels rejected Chancellor Philip Hammond’s bid to include financial services in the Brexit trade deal.