UK 'not lowering import standards' on food says Liz Truss
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After an agreement in principle last month, the United Kingdom has moved quickly to sign the free trade deal, locking in tariff-free trade and securing greater access for UK firms. The agreement boosts a trading relationship which is already worth £21.6billion annually.
Ministers from the three countries came to London today to sign the agreement alongside United Kingdom Minister for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena.
The agreement maintains existing access to duty-free quotas for key British exports like cheese, while offering tariff reductions and quotas on pork, poultry and other goods.
It also recognises the protected status of certain United Kingdom wines and spirits, meaning consumers in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein can continue to enjoy our iconic products, like Scotch Whisky.
The fish processing sector, retail and consumers will benefit from cheaper imports of prawns, shrimp and white fish.
The deal’s cutting-edge digital provisions will enable the UK to slash red tape, making it easier than ever for businesses to export across borders.
Electronic documents, contracts and signatures will result in less paperwork, saving British firms time and money.
International Trade Secretary Ms Truss said: “Today’s deal signing is a landmark moment for trade between the UK, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
“It will support jobs, cut red tape, and open up more opportunities for the UK.
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“I urge businesses across the country, from farmers to fintech, to seize the fantastic opportunities this deal presents.”
Mr Jayawardena added: “This deal shows that the United Kingdom will continue to be a trade partner of choice, as we set the global trade agenda in areas like e-commerce and climate change.
“More trade and more investment will drive growth and support jobs in every corner of our country.
“I look forward to seeing businesses in every corner of the United Kingdom take advantage of streamlined trade, banished barriers and policy that backs jobs and growth.”
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Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybo also welcomed the news, saying: “The UK market is of great importance to Norway.
“Today marks an important step in our future relationship with the United Kingdom.
“I am proud that we have concluded an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement, which will provide predictability and opportunities for our businesses, investors, students and workers in the years to come.”
Innovative FinTech firms will be able to provide financial services into Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, without having to provide that service elsewhere first, helping the United Kingdom to maintain its status as a financial services hub.
The deal maintains existing access to duty-free quotas for key British exports like cheese and will cut tariffs as high as 277 percent for exporters to Norway of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Traditional Welsh Caerphilly, and Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese.
Lower import tariffs on shrimps, prawns and white fish could reduce costs for the United Kingdom fish processing sector, which accounted for around 18,000 jobs in 2020, mainly in areas like Scotland, East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.
UK households will continue to benefit from good choice and low prices in supermarkets, fishmongers and in fish and chip shops throughout the country.
Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: “This free trade agreement delivers the reassurances business leaders require to trade with these European markets.
“The IoD has long championed the need for continuity and cooperation following Brexit.
“This deal will help to deliver that stability, as well as liberalise trade in areas like digital and services.”
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