Brexit LIVE: Throwing Norway under bus! Last-ditch bid to DERAIL UK’s new £20bn trade deal
Eurovision: Liz Truss discusses picking entrants
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International Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced the deal was agreed in principle on Friday along with fellow European Economic Area members Iceland and Liechtenstein. However, ahead of a summer recess, politicians in Oslo only have three weeks to debate and pass the legislation for the deal.
Emilie Enger Mehl, leader of the Centre Party in the Storting, Norway’s parliament, said the deal would need to be scrutinised and not through.
The party said the deal could severely impact Norwegian farmers and agriculture with fears UK agriculture could be outcompeted by Norway.
She said: “The Centre Party fears that the government will try to rush through the agreement in the Storting and throw Norwegian farmers and industry under the bus to land it.”
The politician said the Centre Party will “not vote for an agreement that destroys Norwegian food production and the food industry.”
Speaking to reporters in Oslo last night, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg hailed the new deal as “the biggest free trade agreement we’ve ever had.”
But Ms Solberg – a pro-European in a country that has twice rejected EU membership – noted nonetheless that “a free trade agreement will never be as good as the European Economic Area.”
With Brexit, Britain also quit the EEA as well as the EU, which allows for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
She added: “A free trade agreement means more bureaucracy and added costs for businesses and citizens, and is less dynamic than what we have in the EEA.
“The agreement doesn’t eliminate all the obstacles to trade either. Some are not resolved.”
Ole Erik Almlid, CEO of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, said ministers in the Solberg administration could “not take a vacation” until the deal was passed.
He added: “This is a crucial agreement for Norway. It is the most important agreement since the EEA agreement.
“This is our largest single country when it comes to trade.”
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8am update: Putin says trade between UK and Russia has grown since Brexit
Vladimir Putin has urged against interference in Russian-British relations after the head of MI6 described the nation as a “declining power” and criticised the Kremlin’s “reckless” behaviour.
The Russian President stressed on Friday evening that Richard Moore is “new” to the role as he suggested the spy chief would “revisit his assessments” of Moscow.
Mr Moore, who became MI6’s “C” in October, described Russia as an “objectively declining power economically and demographically” as he struck out against the Kremlin’s actions.
But speaking through a video link from St Petersburg, he said the UK and Russia had seen a growth in trade last year, adding: “So if you don’t try to interfere into this process then everything is going to be good.”
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