New deal with Russia could mean more competition for Faroe supplies Published: 22 May, 2006
THE Faroese Government has moved to consolidate its trade relations with both Russia and EFTA, the European Free Trade Association.
The islands’ premier Joannes Eidesgaard has just signed a key deal with Russia which means in effect that Russian customs duty on Faroese fish and fishery products will be reduced. Both countries have committed themselves to most favoured nation status in their trade.Mr Eidesgaard has also received political approval to start negotiations to join EFTA as soon as possible, ruling out in the short or long term any possible membership of the European Union.
When The Faroese premier met a British Parliamentary group recently, he told MP Austin Mitchell that the Faroe island’s strict fishery conservation measures and other ways it managed its stocks ruled out EU membership for the foreseeable future. The MPs expressed their sympathy for the cause pointing out that the EU fisheries policy was just as unpopular at most of Britain’s main fishing ports – and in the country as a whole.Mr also delivered the same message to UK fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw at an earlier meeting.
But he did stress that Faroe was keen to strengthen both its fishery and cultural links with the UK.The Grimsby MP has long been hostile to the EU and the way – as he sees it – it has virtually destroyed much of Britain’s fishing fleet including that at his home port.
At the General Election last year the Conservatives pledged to withdraw from the EU Fisheries Policy, but it is not known whether David Cameron, the new Tory leader, plans to maintain this stance.The Faroe Islands has been vigorously exploring new markets in Britain for its fish and last year the Faroe Seafood Company established a major new base at Grimsby with the intention of setting up a production centre.
However, this latest deal with Russia now means there will be a lot more competition for Faroese fish. The Russians will clearly be anxious to get their hands on supplies both for domestic use and for export. Fish may well be processed over there before being sold onto seafood companies in Britain. and other countries. many experts believe that fish prices could spiral upwards in the same way as oil and other minerals as the demand for quality food protein increases.
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