UK-Norway trade deal comes into effect

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Food producers, services companies and exporters to Norway will enjoy a pre-Christmas boost as new UK-Norway trading arrangements come into effect today.

It follows a joint deal signed in July with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and will bring the UK and Norway closer than ever before, creating a new services and investment relationship with lower tariffs and exclusive duty-free quotas for UK exporters.

Cutting-edge digital provisions mean British firms exporting to Norway can now benefit from a limit on unnecessary paperwork. Electronic documents, contracts and signatures mean goods can move seamlessly across borders, saving exporters both time and money.

British firms looking to set up or expand operations in Norway can now transfer staff and their families for four years. Norway has stripped back residency requirements for senior management and directors, meaning more UK talent can sit on Norwegian company boards without having to relocate. Business travellers can also enjoy more streamlined and straight-forward visa processes.

The deal also provides assurance to the UK’s booming FinTech industry, enabling innovative FinTech firms to provide new services in Norway, without providing them elsewhere beforehand.

Underlining both countries high ambition on climate change, the deal explicitly reaffirms Norway and the UK’s commitments to reaching net zero. The deal creates further opportunities for investment and job creation in the UK’s green economy, including in renewables, green shipping and electric vehicles.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

The UK and Norway are already close trading partners and there is a strong appetite for British goods and services from our Norwegian neighbours.

This deal will support businesses in all sectors across the country, from the fishing trade in Scotland and Grimsby, to innovative FinTech companies in our biggest cities. The ambitious, forward-looking provisions in this deal show exactly what we can achieve as an independent, deal-making nation and will help level up opportunities throughout the United Kingdom.

The agreement provides opportunities for all parts of the UK to benefit. Fish feed exporters, many of them based in Scotland, will be able to take advantage of new opportunities to export tariff-free to Norway. The fish processing industry – which accounted for around 18,000 jobs across the UK in 2020, most of which are based in Scotland, East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire – could reduce their costs thanks to zero tariffs on supply of certain fish and seafood, like prawns and white fish from Norway. By stimulating jobs and growth in the regions, the deal will also support the government in delivering on its levelling up agenda.

In addition to maintaining our tariff-free quota of cheese, there will be significantly reduced tariffs for exporters to Norway of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Traditional Welsh Caerphilly, and Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese.

There will also be further improved access through tariff reductions and quotas for a variety of high-quality UK produce including sausages, eggs, pork, poultry, strawberries, potatoes, wheat and carrots amongst others. 

Sally Jones, EY Partner in Trade Strategy said:

While the signing of a trade agreement is a positive step, what really matters for businesses is these agreements coming into effect. Only then can companies start to capitalise on the benefits and opportunities such trade agreements create.

The UK and Norwegian business communities have deep and long-standing ties, which should help with a smooth transition – and these ties will only grow stronger once this agreement comes into force.

UK services providers should look forward to using the ambitious market access provisions in the agreement for services trade, business mobility, as well as recognising the increasing importance of digital trade.

Jonathan Geldart, Director-General of the Institute of Directors said:

This free trade agreement opens broad opportunities for business leaders to take advantage of.

The Institute of Directors has long championed the need for continuity following Brexit. Not only does this deal help to deliver that stability, it will allow businesses to promote our strengths abroad, particularly in services, digital trade, and financial services, where we excel.

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