Norway, not part of the EU and reliant on Britain as its single largest trading partner, said it is keen to strike an “ambitious and comprehensive” free trade agreement by the end of the transition period on December 31. Oslo is keen for Norwegian companies to have at least as much access to the UK market as EU companies.
Trade and Industry Minister Iselin Nybø said: “We want to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement with the British, in which current trade is continued as much as possible.
“This is about goods and services that cross our borders every year worth billions of krone.
“Unfortunately, the agreement will not be able to replace the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement, and business will have to prepare to face new trade barriers when the UK leaves the single market.”
The Nordic country last year exporting goods worth 181 billion Norwegian crowns (£15.5 billion) to the UK, with oil and gas accounting for 82 percent of the total.
While Norway wants to continue enjoying zero tariffs on all industrial goods exported to Britain, it also wants fully free trade in seafood, an improvement from the current situation, where Norway has to abide by set EU quotas.
Ms Nybø added: “Britain is an important market for many Norwegian export companies, and they supply billions worth of goods and services to Norway.
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After almost 60 years of free trade in industrial goods between Norway and the UK, the Nordic country says it will “assume that all industrial goods are no longer subject to customs duties”.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: “In terms of trade in services, we will work to ensure that Norwegian companies can continue to trade with the UK as much as possible, particularly in the shipping, telecommunications, engineering, finance and insurance sectors.
“Continuation of current market access for maritime services. The United Kingdom is one of the largest and most important single markets for Norwegian shipping services.
“Continuation of current market access for government procurement, including defence and security.
“We want the negotiation result for climate, environmental and labour rights to be at least as comprehensive as in the agreement between Great Britain and the EU.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg