EU: Albania and Macedonia rejection is ‘major blow’ says MEP

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Ministers signed a £158m continuation deal with their Albanian counterparts to allow British business to trade independently outside of the bloc. Under the agreement, it will ease tariffs on key imports and exports including minerals, fuels, electricity, textiles and shoes.

 

Figures from the UK Government reveal British exports to Albania were £37 million in 2019, making it the UK’s joint 156th largest export market.

Meanwhile, UK imports from Albania were £7 million, making it the UK’s joint 165th largest import source in 2019.

Minister for International Trade, Ranil Jayawardena MP, said the agreement provided a “foundation for deeper trade and investment ties in the future”

The North East Hampshire MP said it would “benefit businesses and create jobs in both our countries.”

Ministers say the deal will prevent additional duty from being levied under WTO trading terms and prevent the UK GDP from “marginally decreasing”.

HMRC data reveals key exports from the UK to the former Communist state included machinery and mechanical appliances and printed books.

The deal is part of International Trade Secretary Liz Truss’ pledge to secure trade deals with large, fast-growing economies outside Europe to reboot the economy.

Ms Truss also said she wanted to take advantage of the UK’s new freedoms after Brexit by liberalising trading rules to boost areas that have been previously left behind.

She made clear that 90 percent of global economic growth will be outside the EU over the next five years.

A Whitehall source said of the deal: “Albania is just the start to make Brexit Britain great.”

As well as the trade agreement, both sides pledged they would work together to tackle organised crime and stop it from spreading throughout Europe.

Albania’s National Bank Governor claimed the Balkan state would have an economic boom in 2021/22 with a strong boost in tourism.

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Speaking at an International Monetary Fund Summit today, Gent Sejko said the Coronavirus pandemic created an “unfavourable foreign environment” but stressed 2021 would be a strong year of recovery.

Duncan Norman, UK Ambassador to Albania, added: “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.

“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.”

 

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