The long awaited free trade deal between the UK and Norway finally became “live” yesterday, opening the way for Oslo to increase salmon and other seafood exports to the British market.
It is almost six months since the two countries hammered out the basis for a post-Brexit agreement, but it is only now being implemented.
Norway’s Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre said: “This is good and long awaited news for our companies and our workers. The conditions are now in place for business with one of our most important trading partners.”
Britain buys seafood worth at least NOK 6.5 billion (£540m) from Norway each year, mainly salmon, cod and haddock. The majority of UK fish and chip shops now use Norwegian cod.
However, Norway’s most valuable export to Britain today is oil and natural gas.
The free trade agreement ensures the continuation of all tariff preferences for seafood that Norway enjoyed while the UK was a member of the EU.
But it will probably mean extra competition for Scottish salmon producers, more than half of which are Norwegian-owned.
Fisheries Minister Bjørnar Skjæran said: “We can now ensure predictability in seafood trade with one of our most important export markets, creating value and jobs.”
In addition, the agreement entails improvements for a number of important products, such as duty-free treatment for frozen peeled shrimp from 2023. And it will give Norway the same access to British markets as it currently has with the EU.
The agreement also forms a framework for further cooperation between Norway and the United Kingdom in the veterinary field, which includes trade in food, feed and live animals.