The UK has signed a post-Brexit trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the government has announced.
The agreement will be a major boost for trade between the four non-EU nations, which is already worth £21.6bn, UK minister Liz Truss said.
She claimed it would boost sectors such as digital and cut tariffs on UK farm products such as cheese and meat.
Britain is Norway’s top trading partner outside the European Union (EU).
The UK government said reduced import tariffs on shrimps, prawns and haddock would cut costs for UK fish processing, helping to support jobs in Scotland, East Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
As Britain is no longer part of the European Common Fisheries Policy, it must deal directly with Norway and UK fleets are keen to have access to the country’s sub-Arctic seas.
However, many Norwegian farmers have expressed concerns at opening up the domestic market to British beef and cheese.
State broadcaster NRK says the country’s market of 5.4 million people is small but potentially lucrative, with strong purchasing power.
The countries involved are the three non-EU members of the European Economic Area, which allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said “the deal allows for growth in trade for both our countries”.
However, the Norwegian government said the deal with the UK would not restore all the advantages it had when both countries were in the EEA.
“Prior to the UK’s exit from the EU, Norway enjoyed free movement of goods, services, capital and persons to the UK through the EEA agreement,” it said.
“A free trade agreement will not provide similar access to the British market.”
The UK’s international trade secretary, Liz Truss, said the deal would be “a major boost for our trade with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, growing an economic relationship already worth £21.6bn, while supporting jobs and prosperity in all four nations at home”.
Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, said an agreement with the UK had been a priority for his country and would be “crucial for both Icelandic companies and consumers”.BUSINESS NEWS • ECONOMIC NEWS • MAKE MONEY • News