UK opens trade talks with Greenland, seeking to reduce seafood tariffs

Published on
January 28, 2022
Negotiations on a free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Greenland have begun.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Greenland have begun that will seek to reduce or remove tariffs on seafood, as well as strengthen other aspects of the relationship between the two countries.

Talks were launched on 27 January, 2022, at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, between British Embassy Copenhagen’s Head of Political Katherine Dark and the Prime Minister of Greenland Múte Bourup Egede.

The U.K. Department for International Trade said in a press release a goal of the negotiations is to cut tariffs of up to 20 percent on Greenlandic specialties like shrimp and cod fillets, which would benefit U.K. supermarkets and catering and hospitality businesses and, ultimately, consumers by making room for a reduction in wholesale prices.

Alongside GBP 10 million (USD 13.4 million, EUR 12 million) of trade between the two countries, an estimated GBP 49 million (USD 65.7 million, EUR 58.9 million) worth of coldwater shrimp was shipped from Greenland to the U.K. market in 2020.

According to the U.K. government, a deal will provide a platform to deepen cooperation on ensuring regional stability in the Arctic as well as collaboration on U.K. priorities including science, technology, climate change, and development.

“A deal with Greenland will be a boost for our fish and seafood processing sector – a key industry for Yorkshire and Scotland,” U.K. Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan said. “Greenland also has a vital geo-strategic location in the Arctic, and as such, I look forward to bringing our two countries closer together.”

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to begin negotiations in parallel to gain fishing opportunities in Greenland’s waters, which could bring significant benefits to the U.K. fishing industry.

Grimsby Fish Market CEO Martyn Boyers said the launch of FTA negotiations with Greenland is “positive news for Grimsby” as much of the nation’s product, particularly frozen shrimp and whitefish, go to the U.K. town for packing by local seafood businesses.

“An agreement would take away any uncertainty of the continuity of supply, benefiting the local processors who repack product from Greenland,” Boyers said. “The knock-on effect substantiates continued local jobs and employment as well as benefiting local hauliers who provide onward distribution into caterers, restaurants, and foodservice.”

Photo courtesy of U.K. Department for International Trade

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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