Norway and the United Kingdom sign a crisis agreement

Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen SøreideForeign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Norway and the United Kingdom signed off an agreement that ensures customs tariffs on goods if the British crash out of the EU without a deal.

Negotiations were rounded off on Friday NTB news was told.

The crisis agreement covers the retail trade between the UK and the two EEA countries, Norway and Iceland.

The agreement continues important provisions that are currently regulated by the EEA Agreement. All established tariff preferences exist, including zero duty for industrial goods.

Customs-free quotas for seafood and agricultural products are also being continued.

“Very positive”

The agreement means that Norway does not have to demand WTO tariffs if the UK crashes out of the EU without agreement on the terms of the divorce.

However, the service trade is not covered.

“It is very positive that with this agreement the Norwegian business sector has secured a contractual basis for continuing the trade in goods with the UK in the case of “no deal ” said Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide of Høyre (H) in a press release.

So far, only a few countries have established similar agreements with the UK.

Temporary arrangement

The crisis agreement does not cover technical regulations and rules for trade in food, animals and plants. But here the British have declared that they will accept imports of goods from Norway and Iceland during a transitional phase.

The agreement will apply temporarily while the negotiations are underway for a more complete trade agreement.

Norway and the UK have previously made an agreement that secures the rights of Britons in Norway and Norwegians in the UK in the event of “no deal”.

Only days left

Diplomats still hope that the crisis agreements will never be used, but denote them as an important safety net.

This is due to the persistent chaos in British politics, where the House of Commons has now twice rejected the EU’s offer to the United Kingdom. Thus, there is no agreement on the limits of the divorce.

How the disagreement should be resolved is still completely unknown.

At the same time, the date of the announcement, Friday 29th of March, is moving ever closer.

But that date is probably only academic after the House of Commons voted last week to ask the EU for a postponement.

The EU summit will consider the request the following Thursday.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today