UK-Norway trade deal stalls over fears British beef and cheese could flood market

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Trade talks between the UK and Norway have stalled over fears British beef and cheese could flood the Norwegian market and put farmers out of business.

Agriculture in Norway is heavily subsidised, with the Government and farmer representatives sitting down every year to agree prices, quotas and the amount of available direct support.

Traditionally, two of the most important goals of the annual agreement have been to keep rural incomes on a par with urban and maintain agricultural production across the country.

Now, discussions between the UK and Norway on a comprehensive trade deal have hit a roadblock, with the Christian Democrats – part of the current governing coalition – refusing to agree to tariff-free access for UK produce.

The two countries had until May 28 to agree a deal in order to get it passed through the Norwegian Parliament before their elections on September 13, but that deadline has lapsed without a breakthrough.

A temporary post-Brexit rollover deal between the UK and Norway was signed in December, but insiders have suggested a new agreement will now be unlikely to take effect before 2022.

George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association, said: “The failure to reach an agreement with Norway is a lesson in how difficult international trade negotiations can be. Having relied upon the EU for so long, UK officials need to relearn the patient tradecraft involved in negotiating these arrangements.

 

 

 

by Abi Kay / Farmers Guardian

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