Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been a champion of Brexit since the 2016 vote. With the likelihood of a no-deal on October 31 looking more and more certain, Norway has concerns on future trade with its fourth-largest seafood export market.
“A hard Brexit is the worst possible alternative for Norwegian seafood exports to the UK,” said UK Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr.
Asmyhr wrote that he is particularly concerned about parts of Norwegian seafood exports that go to Britain 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.
The UK is Norway’s fourth-largest export market for seafood. In 2018, the country exported around 200,000 tonnes of seafood worth EUR 642 million to the British. Of this, 60,000 tonnes were exported 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 by a hard Brexit, and it creates nervousness in the seafood industry that no one knows anything about the future,” he added.
Another who is concerned is exporter and fishing boat owner Paul Harald Leinebø from Leinebris/PHL Seagold.
“Norwegian exporters and fishermen are following the excitement on developments in the UK, which is one of our most important markets. If there are challenges with the market access for Norwegian seafood to this market, this will be a demanding situation,” said Leinebø.
There was great excitement ahead of the British announced exit from the EU on March 29 this year, but now it is even tougher, according to Asmyhr.
“The best advice I can give Norwegian seafood exporters right now is to keep a close dialogue with their British customers,” concluded Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr who is following the situation closely.