UK and Norway agree to ease seafood export rules

Britain and Norway have agreed to speed up work on clarifying the border control health certificate rules for Norwegian seafood exports.

Norwegian fisheries minister Bjørnar Skjæran met Mark Spencer, his UK opposite minister in London on Monday when they discussed some of the current problems which have arisen since Brexit.

After it left the European Union, the UK said it would introduce requirements for health certificates for seafood from the EEA or European Economic Area, of which Norway (and Iceland) is a member.

Norwegian seafood companies warned at the time that the changes could add additional bureaucratic regulations.

Minister Skjæran said the meeting with Mark Spencer had been constructive and useful.

“We both agree that to make progress in the collaboration to find solutions that reduce administrative work, logistics challenges and costs for the seafood companies that export to the UK,” he added.

“It is important that Norway continues to develop the good cooperation with Great Britain in the fisheries area. The fisheries agreement provides predictability for our fishermen in that it gives mutual access to fish in each other’s waters and a certain exchange of quotas, and it is important for the sustainable management of the fish stocks.”

The UK has long been an important market for Norwegian seafood, especially cod, haddock and salmon. Exports are currently around NOK 7.7 billion (£620 million).

Many UK seafood processors are dependent on Norwegian and Iceland fish to keep their production lines in operation.

The ministers also agreed to strengthen maritime co-operation between the two countries.

Northern Ireland deal welcomed

Meanwhile, also this week, industry body Salmon Scotland welcomed the latest deal on the Northern Ireland protocol hammered out between the UK and European Union. The agreement, which creates a new “Windsor Framework” under which businesses in Northern Ireland can continue to operate in both the EU Single Market and the UK market, has calmed fears that the dispute over arrangements for Northern Ireland could escalate into a trade war.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “A thawing of the relationship between London and Brussels is welcome news for all exporters.

“Since Brexit, the export arrangements for our members have been challenging with extra red tape, delays at the Channel, and continued labour shortages.

“We have managed to get through that, but an improved relationship will hopefully lead to an easing of the tensions and generate further sustainable growth of Scotland’s most successful food sector.”



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