Clement Beaune, French Minister for European Affairs
Photo credit: Gay Star News

France is planning to carry out comprehensive checks of British goods starting at the turn of the year, an official said on Friday.

“We have to check incoming British goods,” French Minister for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, told Europe 1 broadcaster.

For food or industrial products, all applicable regulations must be followed, he said.

The French government had appointed 1,300 people to ensure that the controls can be implemented.

London and Brussels reached a last-minute trade agreement on Thursday to govern the relationship between Britain and the European Union just days before the end of the transition period that followed the country’s formal departure from the bloc at the end of January.

During that period, Britain remained a member of the EU’s tariff-free single market and customs union, but this is due to end on Dec. 31.

France is a key hub for British goods, with some 70 per cent of trade between Britain and the EU passing through the country’s northern ports of Calais and Dunkirk and the Eurotunnel, according to the prefecture for the Hauts-de-France region.

Beaune, who is close to French President Emmanuel Macron, also announced an aid programme for French fishing crews worth tens of millions of euros.

“We will support them,” he said.

In France, fishing is of major symbolic importance and the industry proved a highly emotive issue in negotiations.

Under the deal, after lengthy talks, the two sides agreed that the EU would retain 75 per cent of its fishing quotas in British waters over the next five and a half years.