BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union would apply normal World Trade Organisation tariffs on trade with Britain if the country leaves the bloc without a withdrawal agreement, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
Britain said it would eliminate import tariffs on a wide range of goods and keep the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland free of customs checks if it leaves the European Union without a transition deal.
But the Commission said it would not reciprocate.
“We take note of the UK plans for temporary tariffs in the case of no deal,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing.
“We will carefully analyse the compliance of the UK plan with WTO law and the EU’s rights thereunder. The differential treatment of trade on the island of Ireland and other trade between the EU and the UK raises concerns,” he said.
“In the event of no deal, the Union has already made clear it will apply its normal third country trade regime to all trade with the UK and accordingly charge ... tariffs on imports from the UK to into the EU,” Schinas said.
“This is essential for the EU in order to remain a reliable trade partner to the rest of the world including upholding internationally agreed rules upon global trade,” he said.
Reporting By Jan Strupczewski