A trade deal struck with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein with provisions for digital paperwork to cut down the time and costs of post-Brexit border bureaucracy has been championed by the international trade secretary, リズ・トラス, as a “major boost”.
After months of difficult talks, the comprehensive trade deal was hailed by both the UK and Norwegian governments as being pioneering in its scope and measures, with tariff-free trade in industrial goods secured.
British firms exporting to Norway and アイスランド will crucially be able to rely on state-of-the-art electronic documentation to facilitate the onerous customs procedures made necessary by the UK’s exit from the EU’s single market.
Truss said the deal would be crucial in boosting an economic relationship already worth £21.6bn, while “supporting jobs and prosperity in all four nations at home”.
Under the deal, ノルウェー has reduced its duties in 26 areas of agriculture, which includes provisions to allow a quantity of West Country farmhouse cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island cheddar, traditional Welsh caerphilly, and Yorkshire wensleydale cheese to avoid full 277% export tariffs. The total quota of UK cheese that can be sold into the Norwegian market tariff free has not increased, しかしながら.
The deal will allow caps on the charges mobile operators are allowed to charge each other for international mobile roaming, a world-first in a free trade deal, keeping costs low for holiday makers and business travellers.
It also allows highly skilled UK professionals to enter Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein for business purposes and includes professional qualification recognition to ensure nurses, lawyers, vets and other professionals will not need to requalify to work in the partner countries.
Norway’s government, その間, celebrated securing the same trading relationship in goods with the UK as the EU under its trade and cooperation agreement and that there will be zero duty on frozen peeled shrimp from 1 1月 2023, a key export.
“The agreement entails a continuation of all previous tariff preferences for seafood and improved market access for whitefish, shrimp and several other products,” said Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Norway’s fisheries minister. “For the shrimp industry on Senja and the land industry in northern Norway, this will be of great importance.”
The deal otherwise echoes that between the UK and the EU, struck last Christmas Eve, with some improvements in the margins.
Erna Solberg, Norway’s prime minister, speaking in Oslo, agreed that it had been vital to get agreement with the UK, the country’s second biggest trading partner behind the EU.
She offered words of caution, しかしながら, conceding on Friday that there would be extra costs for businesses on both sides which had been used to trading with the UK when it was an EU member state.
Solberg said it was inevitable that trade would be “more bureaucratic and less dynamic” than pre-Brexit arrangements, with the costs yet to be calculated. Without a veterinary agreement there would be more red tape for those exporting animal and plant products, 彼女は言いました, and the lack of mutual recognition of changes in the two sides’ regulatory frameworks would demand further talks in future.
A key dynamic in the trade negotiations had been the UK’s demands for greater access to the Norwegian market for its meat and diary products while Norway had hoped of better terms of trade for its seafood. しかしながら, the final deal published by the Norwegian government revealed that both sides had refused to budge significantly on their red lines.
As details of the deal emerged, Norwegian fishermen complained about the level access for its seafood in the UK market while British farmers had little to celebrate.
Norway’s minister of agriculture and food, Olaug Bollestad, said it had been vital for the centre-right coalition government to protect its small but politically important agriculture sector from the threat of cheaper British beef and cheese.
She added that her Christian Democrat party had not wanted to reward the UK with better access to Norway than it enjoyed as an EU member state.
“We have managed to take care of the most important things in Norwegian agriculture," 彼女は言いました. “If more British beef and cheese had come to Norway, even more Norwegian farms may have to be closed down.”
Since the UK left the single market in January, the country’s trade with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein has been covered by a continuity deal that covered goods but both sides had sought to further open up flows in key areas as well.
According to the Norwegian government, 22% of all Norwegian exports go to the UK, with high demand for oil and gas, fish and seafood and industrial goods.
David Henig, a former UK government trade official who is now director of the UK Trade Policy Project, 前記: “This UK-EEA free trade agreement provides better trading conditions than World Trade Organization terms, though with considerably more trade barriers when compared with the previous single market relationship.
“There are some useful provisions for UK business such as on professional qualifications or digital trade, but there will also be many difficulties as we see with the similar UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement. Overall this is quite a standard free trade agreement, with limited economic value.”