UK strikes Brexit deal with two of its biggest seafood partners
The United Kingdom has reached a temporary agreement with Norway and Iceland that allows trade to continue unchanged should it leave the European Union without a deal in place.
Through the new arrangements, which mimic those already in place with E.U. member states, zero tariffs remain on established quotas on seafood and agricultural products. A basis for negotiating a permanent agreement was also established.
The agreement is now subject to final legal checks and is expected to be formally signed next week.
U.K. Trade Minister Liam Fox said the deal would ensure continued access for British businesses to the European Economic Area (EAA) should the country leave without a deal.
“This is one of the largest trade agreements we are party to as a result of our membership of the E.U.,” he said.
The U.K. government is seeking to replicate around 40 of the E.U.’s bilateral trade deals ahead of its departure from the bloc, currently scheduled for 29 March 2019. If the country leaves without a deal in place, existing bilateral trade agreements would no longer apply.
Last month, the Faroe Islands and the United Kingdom signed a free trade agreement (FTA) to ensure that trade between the countries continues after Brexit.
Trade access is vital to the U.K. seafood sector because it exports the bulk of the products it catches and imports the majority of what the market consumes. Approximately 90 percent of the U.K. cod supply is imported, with Iceland and Norway accounting for a large proportion of the trade.