NORWEGIAN AND UK FISHERIES MINISTERS HOLD ‘CONSTRUCTIVE’ TALKS
Norwegian and UK fisheries ministers hold ‘constructive’ talks. Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran met UK counterpart Victoria Prentis in London last week to discuss fisheries cooperation.
“We had a nice and constructive meeting. The United Kingdom is one of our most important markets for seafood exports, and we have had good fisheries cooperation throughout the years. Important negotiations on fisheries issues and future challenges for trade still remain, but this meeting was a good start, says Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran in a press release.
Demands from the UK
One of the topics the Minister raised at the meeting was the forthcoming border control for seafood. The United Kingdom has announced that it will introduce requirements for health certificates for seafood from the EEA area. Today, there are no such requirements. For Norwegian exporters, the change may lead to more administrative work, logistics challenges and increased costs.
“I am concerned about reducing trade barriers with the UK so that trade in seafood goes quickly and smoothly. Therefore, I am pleased that Minister Prentis and I agree that the Norwegian and British authorities will work together to find solutions that can help reduce the burden that the industry is imposed, he says.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has the professional responsibility for the veterinary regulations, and therefore attended the meeting in London. They will now start negotiations with their British counterpart to find solutions that simplify trade.
During the meeting, fisheries co-operation was also discussed. For 2022, Norway entered into a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom for the first time, which includes mutual access and exchange of quotas. Negotiations on an agreement for next year will begin in the autumn.
“The United Kingdom is a key fisheries partner. We share the view on the importance of sustainable management and agree to work more closely on fisheries issues. It is very positive that we have fisheries agreements that provide mutual access to fishing in each other’s waters and a certain quota exchange. We want to build on this in the agreement for 2023,” says Skjæran.
After the bilateral meeting, the ministers invited to a meeting with British and Norwegian seafood actors. Six representatives from each country participated, highlighting the various challenges and opportunities they see for trade in seafood between the two countries.
“We benefited greatly from listening to what the industry is concerned with. They are the ones who know best where the shoe hits. I also hope that the meeting helped to form new links and strengthen the connections between the Norwegian and British business actors who were present,” says the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs.