Boost for food
Trade deal sealed with Norway and Iceland
Alister Jack: ‘great opportunities’
A trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will slash tariffs on high-quality British food and farm products.
The deal agreed in principle today is the first time these three European countries have included dedicated chapters on digital trade and small businesses in any trade deal, making it the most advanced they have done to date.
Cutting-edge digital provisions mean when British firms export to the three countries, they will be able to do so without a single piece of paperwork. All documents, contracts and signatures can be electronic, allowing goods to move seamlessly across borders and saving businesses time and money.
The agreement significantly cuts tariffs as high as 277% for exporters to Norway of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Traditional Welsh Caerphilly, and Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese.
There are also tariff reductions and quotas on pork, poultry and other goods. UK wines and spirits including Scotch Whisky will also now be recognised in Norway and Iceland.
Reduced import tariffs on shrimps, prawns and haddock will reduce costs for UK fish processing, helping support some 18,000 jobs in that industry in Scotland, East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Today’s deal will be a major boost for our trade with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, growing an economic relationship already worth £21.6 billion, while supporting jobs and prosperity in all four nations at home.”
International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena said: “This deal shows that the United Kingdom will continue to be a trade partner of choice, as we set the global trade agenda in areas like e-commerce and climate change.
“More trade and more investment will drive growth and support jobs in every corner of our country.”
The agreement means British businesses can bid for more government contracts in partner countries worth some £200 million a year.
The deal will allow caps on the charges mobile operators are allowed to charge each other for international mobile roaming, a world-first in an FTA, keeping costs low for holiday makers and business travellers.
It also allows high-skilled professionals to enter Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein for business purposes, means faster and simpler visa processes and includes professional qualification recognition – so nurses, lawyers, vets and other professionals will not need to requalify to work in the partner countries.
The deal means clearer rules for financial services firms that ensure they cannot be treated unfairly, and includes the most ambitious commitment to support investment ever secured by the UK in an FTA, enabling investors to appoint preferred candidates for senior management without being limited by nationality and residency criteria.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Today’s new trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein is very welcome news. Norway is Scotland’s seventh largest export market, worth over £1 billion a year.
“This deal will offer great opportunities for Scottish businesses, with our iconic food and drink sector as well as our growing digital sector set to receive a boost.
“And it’s especially good news for our offshore wind industry, which will benefit from this enhanced trading relationship as we build back greener from the pandemic.
“The UK Government is working hard to strike new trade deals around the world, for the benefit of people and businesses across the whole of the UK. This deal is another important milestone as we secure global opportunities for British industries outside the constraints of the EU.”