Emily Thornberry slams Liz Truss on government's trade policy
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Norwegian Trade Minister Iselin Nybo said negotiations were in the final phase with “intensive work” being done to ensure the process is completed. The Liberal party politician also said she was ready to fly to London and meet her counterpart Liz Truss to finalise the deal on paper as she indicated an announcement was expected this week.
But there is still some tension in the talks after Oslo claimed the UK entered negotiations with “very offensive” demands for increased access to exports of British agricultural goods to Norway.
Norway has also fought for better conditions for the export of Norwegian seafood to the UK but has not wanted to expose Norwegian farmers to increased pressure on trade.
On the UK side, Express.co.uk understands Liz Truss wants to secure a “comprehensive” deal that will boost the UK economy.
Oslo has accepted some British demands for import quotas on beef and cheese as well as sheep and lamb but some political differences between the parties in the three-group coalition are still being resolved.
The deal has been tough for the Christian Democrats who claim it has been difficult to give away leverage “on the agricultural side” of the agreement.
Ms Nybo said a deal could have been agreed upon if the Christian Democrats had not “sat on its hind legs.”
Ole Erik Almlid, CEO of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise said for every day that passes “without an agreement”, business opportunities and jobs would be lost.
He made it clear: “We can not live with that.
“We must get an agreement in place as soon as possible.”
A Department for International Trade source told Express.co.uk: “Norway has been a difficult deal to grasp, negotiations have been tough.
“But we finally see a breakthrough which we hope will be soon.”
The country, which is part of the European Economic Area, exported goods worth 181 billion Norwegian crowns (£15.5billion) last year to the UK.
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Oil and gas make up about 80 percent of exports.
A temporary rollover agreement was signed in December and ensured 95 percent of goods trade with Norway remained tariff-free but an overall deal will be a positive step for Norwegian consumers.
Without the agreement, duties on UK imports from Iceland and Norway would have increased by an estimated £65million under World Trade Organisation trading arrangements.
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