Norway to Start Trade Deal Negotiation with the UK

Norway will begin negotiations with the United Kingdom for a free trade agreement. The agreement will be in place by the 31st of December 2020. The Norwegian objectives for the negotiations have now been announced.

– We want to negotiate a wide-ranging free trade agreement with the United Kingdom that will allow today’s trade to continue as fully as possible. Billions of kroner in goods and services cross our borders annually. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that this agreement will not be able to fully replace the EEA Agreement, so Norwegian businesses must prepare for new trade barriers that may be introduced when the United Kingdom leaves the internal market, says the Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø.

The Government has determined Norway’s most important objectives for the negotiations.

– An important priority for Norway in these negotiations will be to ensure that Norwegian companies can operate in, and have access to the British market on at least as good terms as EU companies, says Ms Nybø.

Here are some of Norway’s negotiating objectives

  • Norwegian access to the British market on terms at least as favourable as those obtained by the European Union countries, and Norwegian terms matching those of the EU on regulatory areas such as financial services, food safety, technical regulations and veterinary rules.
  • Continuation of almost 60 years of free trade in industrial goods between Norway and the United Kingdom
  • Full free trade for seafood. This would be an improvement over the current situation in which Norwegian seafood exporters do not enjoy free trade into the EU but must deal with a variety of different quotas and tariffs.
  • Ensure the facilitation of modern, efficient customs procedures.
  • With regard to ​agriculture, Norway seeks to negotiate on the basis of current trade in agricultural goods and to maintain protection of sensitive Norwegian agricultural goods. Norway also wants to improve market access for certain of its agricultural products. 
  • As for trade in services, Norway will work to enable Norwegian companies to continue their present trade with the United Kingdom to the extent possible, especially in shipping, telecommunications, engineering, finance and insurance.
  • Retain current market access for maritime transport services. The United Kingdom is among the largest and most important individual markets for Norwegian shipping services.
  • Continuation of current market access for public procurement, including defence and security procurement.
  • On climate, environment and labour rights, Norway seeks a negotiated outcome as least as extensive as in the agreement between the UK and the EU.

The Minister of Trade and Industry points out that time is short for negotiating a free trade agreement, but that we share a common goal of signing a wide-ranging, ambitious agreement and for it to be in place when the transition period expires. Norwegian officials anticipate that challenging questions will have to be resolved, such as issues relating to market access. The Minister of Trade and Industry therefore hopes formal negotiations can begin as soon as possible.

– The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU affects Norway and Norwegian trade and industry. The United Kingdom is an important market for many Norwegian exporters, and we also import goods and services for billions of kroner. The United Kingdom’s exit from the internal market means there will be a change of ground rules, and we’ll have to start over with a clean slate, says Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry.

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