Bloomberg | 3 June 2021
UK is close to announcing a free trade deal with Norway
By Alex Morales
The U.K. is closing in on a free-trade deal with Norway with an announcement possible on Friday, an official familiar with the matter said.
A final agreement hasn’t been reached yet, but any deal is likely to include digital trade provisions that go beyond the deal the European Union has with the oil-rich Nordic country, as well as extra provisions on trade in services.
A new deal would show the U.K. is making progress on a key Brexit pledge by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to strike trade agreements independently. The U.K. is also edging toward a deal with Australia and is in talks with the U.S. and New Zealand. Those negotiations are critical and remain in balance. It also aspires to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-country pact that includes Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
The U.K. in December agreed with Norway to retain the trading relationship in goods they had when the U.K. was still an EU member. The new deal will go further than those arrangements, expanding market access between the two nations. The British official said the U.K. expected more access to Norway’s agricultural markets, and benefits for the domestic fish processing industry.
Norwegian state broadcaster NRK reported late on Thursday that a deal has already been struck, without saying how it obtained the information.
Norway isn’t an EU member, but is part of the European Free Trade Association. The U.K. is close to striking new deals also with Iceland and Liechtenstein, two other members of EFTA, according to the person. U.K. trade with Norway and Iceland in 2019 was worth around 27 billion pounds ($38 billion).