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Trond Davidsen of Seafood Norway believes his country has missed an opportunity to create a bigger market for value added products.
Trond Davidsen of Seafood Norway believes his country has missed an opportunity to create a bigger market for value added products.

A new trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Norway has been greeted with disappointment by Seafood Norway. “We had high hopes that the government would create better market access for Norwegian seafood, but we note that this will unfortunately not be the case,” said Trond Davidsen, deputy chief executive of the marketing organisation.

Norway’s trade relations with the UK ceased to be governed by the European Economic Area (EEA) when the UK left the European Union at the beginning of 2020. The countries have since been working on a replacement trade agreement, which was put in place today (June 4).

Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, the Norwegian fisheries and seafood minister, has welcomed the deal but Davidsen told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, that Seafood Norway was not particularly impressed by the agreement.

‘No improvements’

“Seafood Norway states that unfortunately there are no improvements in the framework conditions for Norwegian salmon to the United Kingdom,” he said.

“After struggling with access to several markets in recent years, including Russia and China, we had high expectations that the government would use the first major opportunity in 40 years to create better market access for Norwegian seafood, not least for processed goods such as smoked salmon or finished consumer products. Unfortunately, we note that this will not be the case in one of our most important markets. We are also referred in the future to be a raw material exporter.”

Value creation

The positive thing with the agreement is that exporters have now received a clarification of the framework conditions that apply to trade with the United Kingdom, said Davidsen, but those don’t give the industry much opportunity to realise the potential for increased value creation in Norway.

“It is a pity, not only for the industry, but also for the coast and the whole country, which in the coming years in step with the reduction of oil and gas activities, will have an increased need for the income created in the profitable seafood industry,” said the executive.

“This is an agreement we must assume will last for many years. As such, it would have been strongly desirable that it provided greater development opportunities for seafood from Norway to the British market.”