Solberg wish to copy EU’s trade agreement with UK
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) would prefer not to concot a brand new trade agreement with UK. Instead, she believes Norway should use cut-and-paste.
– We are looking for the opportunities we can to relate to the solutions the EU and the United Kingdom are landing on. The idea is that we strive to follow the solutions that come from that as far as possible. That will be the most effective and rational for us, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives).
She reminds that the British not only has to negotiate with Norway, but the whole world. Therefore, it is important to make the process as quick and simple as possible.
– If we can achieve very similar terms as the EU does, it will be the easiest, says Solberg to NTB.
Friday the UK’s Minister for Trade, Liam Fox, is in Oslo, where he meets with both Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives), and Minister of Industry and Trade, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Conservatives).
The visit comes after Solberg visited London last week for talks with her British counterpart, Theresa May.
But Norway and the UK have not started with formal negotiations yet. The reason is that the British are not allowed to enter into their own trade agreements with other countries as long as they are still part of the EU.
Instead, the agreements will be cut out during a transitional period of less than two years after the divorce. The pressure for landing a comprehensive agreement on time will be immense.
The Norwegians perceive that it is completely unrealistic to believe that Norway in this situation should be able to move ahead of the field and negotiate something completely different – and better – with the British than what the European Union and the United Kingdom comes to terms on.
The idea is therefore that Norway will try to get as close as feasible to the EU-UK trade agreement.
This can happen in several ways. One alternative is that the EU-UK agreement is extended to include Norway. Another option is that Norway and the United Kingdom enter into its own trade agreement, but that this will be a spitting image of the EU-UK agreement.
Solberg does not wish to be bound by any tangible alternative at this point in time.
– We are preparing for all scenarios as to what we must do, because we do not know what’s in store for us, she says.
The great uncertainty surrounding the negotiations has made it difficult for Norway to prepare itself for the negotiations.
Exactly how a future trade agreement between the EU and the UK will look like is still in the blue. If things go really haywire, the British can end up on the outside without having any agreement in place.
Another problem is that negotiations between the EU and the UK on a future trade agreement are likely to continue until the end of the transition period, which is scheduled for December 31st, 2020.
This means that it might be risky to wait.
Worst case scenario is that time can run out without any trade agreement being made between the EU and Britain that Norway can cut and paste from.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today