Emerging Europe | 5 February 2021
UK and Albania agree trade deal
by Marek Grzegorczyk
The UKhas signed another post-Brexit trade deal with an emerging European country: this time, it’s Albania.
The UK and Albania will do more to tackle organised crime and stop it spreading throughout Europe, following the signing of a new partnership, trade and cooperation agreement between the two countries.
The agreement, signed on February 5, sets out the UK and Albania’s ambitions for a future relationship including the strengthening of political, economic, security and cultural ties.
As well as deepening shared work against organised crime, the agreement will also allow for more cooperation on good governance and political cooperation – improving the security of the Western Balkans to make both Albania and the UK safer.
According to Duncan Norman, the UK ambassador in Tirana, the signing of the agreement marks a significant and positive step forwards in the UK – Albania relationship.
“Albania offers great opportunities for UK companies and investors expanding into south-east Europe and the signing of the agreement marks a new era of increased investment in both our economies,” he said.
“Our agreement also allows us to continue and build on our close cooperation across a wide range of areas, including the environment, energy, finance and education.”
The preferential trading terms the agreement secures will enable British business to trade with Albania as they did before January 1, 2021. Until then, trade between the two countries had been covered by the EU’s own agreement with Albania.
Total trade between the UK and Albania was worth a modest 158 million UK pounds in 2019: primarily services.
“The signing of this agreement benefits exporters and consumers in both of our countries, including British businesses such as Vodafone, who are flourishing in Albania,” said Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Minister Wendy Morton.
Minister for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena added, “Today’s Agreement supports a trading relationship worth 158 million UK pounds in 2019 and provides the foundation for deeper trade and investment ties in the future, benefiting businesses and creating jobs in both our countries. I look forward to working in partnership as we continue to strengthen our bonds through trade.”
The agreement, which is subject to domestic parliamentary procedures in both the UK and Albania, brings the number of countries with which the UK has struck post-Brexit trade deals to 64 (plus the EU).
Of these, six are emerging Europe countries: Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Ukraine, and now Albania.
The UK is currently negotiating deals with three other countries in the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia.