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JCB forced to pay £21m

PLANT

JCB HAS finally been forced to accept a £20.7 million fine from the European Commission for infringing cross-border distribution regulations.

The ruling came after JCB failed in its appeal to the European Court of First Instance last week.

The firm expressed its 'extreme disappointment' at the fine, levied in 2000, and accused the court of 'ignoring 20 years of bureaucratic errors'.

The firm said the EC had implicitly agreed its arrangements for its European dealers.

Chief executive John Patterson said: 'We are frustrated that, after six years of pursuing this action in the courts, the European Court of Justice has ignored the failings of the EC and found against us.

'The Commission is not giving European industry the framework it needs to compete globally.'