A new free trade agreement with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein could bring benefits to the UK by removing tariffs on the import of shrimps and prawns.
The new FTA replaces the temporary arrangements agreed with Norway and Iceland at the end of the Brexit transition period. The House of Lords European Affairs Committee has scrutinised the report, calling it both the UK’s first new post-Brexit FTA and an exercise in damage limitation.
“While the agreement is in part an exercise in restoring the position and seeking to avoid the imposition of new barriers to trade, rather than in removing existing barriers, its impact upon trade in goods and services could be significant, particularly in the long term,” said Lord Kinnoull, chair of the committee.
Removing import tariffs on shrimps and prawns could deliver annual savings of between £1 million and £2.7 million, reducing costs to the UK fish processing industry. The deal also prioritises women’s economic empowerment.
However, the committee remains concerned about the level of engagement with the devolved administrations, citing a lack of consultation with the Scottish Government and no mention whatsoever of how this deal will impact the Northern Ireland protocol.
“We do however continue to have concerns about the timing and level of scrutiny and engagement for the free trade agreements that are being struck,” said Lord Kinnoull. “It is of vital importance that Parliament at Westminster and the devolved legislatures have the opportunity to examine these agreements and feed into the negotiation process before it concludes.”