Norway, not a member of the European Union, said on Friday it had reached a post-Brexit trade deal with its biggest trading partner, the United Kingdom, which left the EU last year following a 2016 referendum. The agreement includes Iceland and Liechtenstein, which are also outside the bloc and which together with Norway form the European Economic Area (EEA). Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the deal "ambitious and comprehensive". "When Norway is accelerating out of the pandemic, then good export deals are important," he said. Negotiations have been ongoing since 2020, and some of the differences included imports into Norway of agricultural products such as meat and cheese, and fish exports to the UK, Norwegian media said. Norway's membership in the EEA grants it access to the vast EU common market and most products are duty free. However, unhindered trade in the North Sea ended when the UK abandoned the bloc's economic rules in late 2020.
"Although it is not as good as the EEA agreement, this is the most comprehensive free trade agreement in history," Solberg told a news conference. He added that at least two questions remained. “One is that [the deal] is not dynamic. That means that when the rules are changed, they are not followed everywhere. That's the great thing about the EEA agreement, that the rules are changed at the same time in all countries: the same rules apply everywhere, the same developments apply. " "The second is the veterinary rules at the border, which have not been completely cleaned up," he said. Norway's exports to the UK are worth close to 200 billion kronor ($ 24 billion), Solberg said. The UK said total trade with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein was worth £ 21.6 billion ($ 30.6 billion) in 2020.
The UK side said British farmers will benefit from lower tariffs and more duty-free access to products such as cheese, pork and poultry. They also highlighted that reducing import tariffs on shrimp, prawn and haddock will reduce the costs of UK fish processing. In addition, it will support 18,000 jobs in Scotland and the North of England by creating new opportunities for the UK fish processing industry, London said. However, the agreement contains some barriers, as the UK had completely free trade with all three countries when it was a member of the EU.