Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr is concerned about the effects of Boris Johnson's Brexit plans. Photo: Christina Neumann / Norwegian Seafood Council

Johnson Brexit plans prompt Norway seafood export fears

Norway’s substantial seafood exports to the UK could be hit if soon-to-be Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes the country out of the European Union without a deal.

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Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

“A hard Brexit is the worst possible alternative for Norwegian seafood exports to the UK,” said Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, who is the Norwegian Seafood Council’s representative in the UK.

Asmyhr is particularly concerned about the proportion of Norwegian seafood exports that comes to the UK via processing countries such as Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

“Since Norway has a transitional agreement with the UK, direct exports of seafood will be less affected, but I am very concerned about the indirect exports that go through the EU countries,” said Asmyhr.

£573m market

The UK is Norway’s fourth largest export market for seafood. In 2018, it imported around 200,000 tonnes of Norwegian seafood worth NOK 6.2 billion (£573m). Of this, 60,000 tonnes came indirectly via a so-called transit country which processes the products. 

“It is highly uncertain what will happen to the trade between the EU and the UK if there’s a hard Brexit, and it creates nervousness in the seafood industry that no one knows anything about the future,” said Asmyhr.

“The best advice I can give Norwegian seafood exporters right now is to keep a close dialogue with their British customers.”