January 22, 2018 / 4:23 PM / 3 years ago

French customs to hire hundreds of extra staff to cope with Brexit

FILE PHOTO: Custom officers check luggages at the Charles de Gaulle international airport in Roissy, France, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - France will hire an extra 95 customs officers this year in a fast-track procedure to cope with the consequences of Brexit on its borders, officials said on Monday, bringing to 250 the number of additional British-focused staff recruited in 2018.

In a sign that European countries are now taking concrete steps to deal with a possible return to customs checks on British trade, French customs have already advertised the new positions on their website.

The deadline to apply for some 35 clearance officer jobs at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris is Feb. 23, showing how pressing the need for new staff may be as the clock ticks towards Britain’s March 2019 departure date.

Other hires will be made near Calais in northern France, near Metz in the east and in Normandy.

Rodolphe Gintz, the head of French customs, said the staffing would be recruited under a special fast-track process.

Some 250 new customs officers will be hired this year to deal with Brexit, including by competitive exam as is traditional, with more expected next year, Gintz told Reuters.

At the moment Britain has no customs border with the EU, a free-trade area of 28 states, but one is likely to be reimposed when it leaves the bloc.

If London and Brussels fail to strike a trade deal, each side will start imposing import duties on the other’s goods.

Britain says it is seeking the freest possible trade with the EU after Brexit and has outlined potential customs regimes, but detailed negotiations on these have yet to begin.

Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Catherine Evans

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