UK clinches trade deals with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein

A member of staff working behind the fish counter in the food hall wears a protective face mask as he serves customers inside Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London on June 15, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

OSLO – Britain has reached post-Brexit trade agreements with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the countries said on Friday.

The three countries, which are part of the European Economic Area allowing them access to the single market, have relied on temporary trade arrangements with Britain since the end of a Brexit transition period on Dec 31 following its departure from the European Union.

“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 pounds (US$30.5 billion), while supporting jobs and prosperity in all four nations at home,” British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference in Oslo that “the deal allows for growth in trade for both our countries”.

The main focus of Britain’s post-Brexit trade policy has been to pivot its economic centre away from Europe and towards fast growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region

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Trade between Britain and Norway was worth 20.4 billion pounds (US$28.81 billion) last year, making it Britain’s 13th largest trading partner. Britain is Norway’s top trading partner, primarily thanks to gas exports.

The trade was made up of 8.1 billion in exports and 12.3 billion in imports. Top British goods exports were ships, oil and aircraft, while the largest imports were oil, gas, metals, fish and seafood.

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“A new free trade agreement with Britain has been a priority during my term as minister and will be crucial for both Icelandic companies and consumers,” Iceland’s foreign minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson said in a statement.

The main focus of Britain’s post-Brexit trade policy has been to pivot its economic centre away from Europe and towards fast growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is expected to seal a deal with Australia later this month, and is seeking to join a trans-Pacific trade pact.