UK Strikes Post-Brexit Trade Deal With Three European Countries
Britain announced Friday a free-trade agreement with three European countries -- major fishing neighbour Norway as well as Iceland and Liechtenstein -- in its latest move to boost trade ties post-Brexit
London, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 4th Jun, 2021 ) :Britain announced Friday a free-trade agreement with three European countries -- major fishing neighbour Norway as well as Iceland and Liechtenstein -- in its latest move to boost trade ties post-Brexit.
The deal, agreed in principle and which builds on "an economic relationship already worth 21.6 billion ($30 billion, 25 billion Euros)", will slash tariffs on British food products, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.
Since then, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has replicated or rolled over existing trade agreements with the bloc and several countries, vowing that they will be more advantageous than those negotiated by the EU.
Access to Britain's rich fishing waters was a major sticking point in post-Brexit talks with the EU.
"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" and northern England, said Friday's statement.
Exports to the three non-EU countries will meanwhile be done without the need for any paperwork.
Norway meanwhile stressed that the deal would not lead to an increased quotas for British beef and cheeses, reassuring the country's farmers as the centre-right government trails in the polls ahead of legislative elections in September.
Friday's agreement also calls for caps on the charges mobile operators are allowed to charge each other for international mobile roaming, and mutual recognition of professional qualifications, such as nurses, lawyers and vets.
- Second-best option - Prior to Brexit, Britain, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein had signed a temporary agreement enabling them to continue to trade goods freely pending a broader, permanent agreement.
Speaking to reporters in Oslo, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg hailed the new deal as "the biggest free trade agreement we've ever had." Solberg -- a pro-European in a country that has twice rejected EU membership -- noted nonetheless that "a free trade agreement will never be as good as the European Economic Area." With Brexit, Britain also quit the EEA, which allows for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
"A free trade agreement means more bureaucracy and added costs for businesses and citizens, and is less dynamic than what we have in the EEA," Solberg said.
Meanwhile in Reykjavik, Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson hailed the deal as "a new era in the relationship between the countries".