The chances of the UK leaving the EU without a deal have risen with the new UK government, even with the latest votes in parliament. Importers and exporters alike have become increasingly worried about the possibility of a hard Brexit and the implications this will have for the seafood industry. So, what does this mean for Norway and the British seafood industry?

Firstly, the need for advanced planning is clear. The UK government has increased monetary investment into preparation for a hard Brexit in the hope of keeping undesirable impacts to a minimum. In Norway, contingency measures have been set in place to continue facilitating fisheries trade into the UK if no deal is reached.

There is already an understanding that existing import routes via the British channel are at risk of complication. Continued resilience is key to ensure the UK’s supply chain remains as seamless as possible.

Documentation is another area likely to see change in the event of a hard Brexit. Whilst we cannot predict what these changes will be, HMRC is a good touchstone for the latest advice regarding procedural change should this happen. This information is all readily available online at the HMRC website, we advise any businesses with regular trade between Norway and the UK to familiarise themselves with these requirements.

To allay concern, Norway signed an agreement with the UK earlier on this year to allow continued trade partnership between Norwegian and British businesses. The agreement prolongs the current trading regime on seafood products and establishes a basis for negotiating a permanent agreement.

Amidst the uncertainty and confusion, the rough seas around Brexit will, without doubt, be difficult to navigate. What is clear though is that the Norwegian Government is working closely with the UK’s to weather the storm. If any businesses dealing with seafood trade get problems with their trading relationship, please contact me in London. For the UK, the HMRC, and the UK government provides up-to-date information regarding process.

By Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, UK director, Norwegian Seafood Council

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