“We want free market access for Norwegian seafood in the EU,” says Norway Fisheries State Secretary Vidar Ulriksen.
Norway, the European Union’s largest supplier of seafood, is pushing for the removal of tariffs on its fish exports to the EU, a stance that faces opposition due to long-standing disagreements on fisheries policy.
“We want free market access for Norwegian seafood in the EU. Neither more nor less,” Norwegian State Secretary Vidar Ulriksen told news agency NTB on Tuesday following a meeting with the EU’s Market Advisory Council.
This preliminary meeting sets the stage for upcoming negotiations on the European Economic Area (EEA), which will also focus on improving market access for Norwegian seafood.
Norway supplies over a quarter of all seafood imported by the EU, accounting for at least 20,000 jobs in European countries. Meanwhile, 60 percent of Norway’s seafood exports head to Europe, marking it as Norway’s most significant market.
Yet, Norwegian exporters navigate a labyrinth of over 500 varying custom codes and quota schemes. The customs duties can range from 0.9 percent to more than 25 percent, with higher rates for more processed fish, creating a complex and unpredictable trading environment.
However, the EU remains skeptical of Norway’s plea, linking the issue to Norway’s contentious fisheries policy. Several EU representatives reacted critically to Ulriksen’s comments, indicating that until Norway resolves policy problems related to overfishing and quota distribution, the EU is unlikely to grant easier market access.