Norway Defies EU and Backs Tariff-Free Trade with UK After Brexit

Juncker
AP/Geert Wijngaert

Norway’s government has signalled its support for the UK being handed access to European Union markets after Brexit, which it is likely to agree to.

There are numerous non-EU nations with tariff-free access to the bloc’s Single Market, each of which will have a say in agreeing to the UK’s future post-Brexit trade deal.

Specifically, Brussels has agreed to notify third countries such as Norway of trade arrangements being “rolled over” for the transition.

Many experts had claimed that such potential trade partners would demand concessions in return for allowing the UK access.

However, contrary to the scaremongering, Siv Jensen, Norway’s finance minister, has told the Financial Times her nation has “no objections to a transition period” with “flexible solutions”.

In a speech during a visit to London, Ms. Jensen also said Norway and other countries had “an interest in the UK continuing to endorse the idea of common rules and a level playing field”, not least in financial services.

Britain and London had “a special interest in being regulated like their neighbouring countries” to “make it easier… to operate across borders”, she added.

Norway gains access to the EU’s Single Market through membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), but it is not in the Customs Union.

In January, ministers from Switzerland, which is also a member of the EEA, called for “background” talks with Britain so that a trade deal can be in place as soon as the UK leaves the EU.

Despite widespread support for continuing tariff-free trade with the UK, and the fact EU business would also be harmed by barriers, the EU’s unelected leaders have continued to insist the UK must be offered an inferior settlement.

Speaking last year, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the UK to could not keep “frictionless trade” with the bloc and that any deal would have “significant consequences” for business.

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