THE UK will not “roll over” in the face of “unreasonable” threats from French president Emmanuel Macron amid an ongoing fishing row, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

Mr Macron warned that unless Britain made a “significant move” to ease the dispute over licences to fish in British waters, France would introduce more stringent port and border checks from tomorrow.

It comes after French authorities detained a trawler from Shoreham in the dispute, after claiming the vessel did not have a proper licence to fish.

Ms Truss also warned the UK could launch dispute settlement proceedings under the terms of the Brexit trade deal, with Brexit minister Lord Frost threatening retaliatory “practical responses”.

Speaking to Sky News, Ms Truss said: “The French have made completely unreasonable threats, including to the Channel Islands and to our fishing industry and they need to withdraw those threats, or else we will use the mechanisms of our trade agreement with the EU to take action.”

Despite the strong words from both sides, Professor Michael Gasiorek, director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory, believes the spat will not escalate into a full-blown trade war.

He said: “The likelihood is extremely high that this particular issue will be resolved through negotiation - involving no doubt some increase in licences to French boats and with both sides claiming ‘victory’.

“Nevertheless, it does reflect an underlying tension between France, the EU and the UK, and those wider issues will not be quickly solved.

“We can expect a continuation of the tensions, future flashpoints, and the possibility that legitimate checks on freight traffic by the French authorities may increase, with additional costs and delays for some UK exporters.”

Professor Gasiorek also said that, while the impact of such flashpoints might prove minor economically, they can cause significant turbulence for individual producers in the fishing industry or more widely.

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