Reports of a post-Brexit UK-Norway trade deal not correct

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Reports on Monday that British Trade Minister Liam Fox wanted to set up a British-Norwegian working group to prepare a new post-Brexit trade deal were imprecise. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) issued a correction on Tuesday of its own report on Monday that Norway’s government also had rejected Fox’ offer.

What actually happened, wrote DN in Tuesday’s correction, is that the British officials wanted a working group to look at the consequences of the UK’s so-called “Brexit” decision to leave the EU on business and secure good communication between Great Britain and Norway, which never joined the EU in the first place.

DN’s report on Monday that Norway also had rejected the British idea of setting up a working group was incorrect as well, according to the Norwegian ministry for business, trade and fisheries. DN wrote Tuesday that the ministry simply hadn’t followed up yet on a meeting last month between Fox and Norwegian Trade Minister Monica Mæland.

That’s where the discussions came up about trade between Norway and the UK after the UK eventually leaves the EU. Some Norwegian politicians have been urging the government to re-negotiate its own trade deal with the EU (the so-called EEA/EØS agreement) and set up a bilateral deal with the UK. Center Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, for example, quickly used DN’s report to further criticize how the Norwegian government is handling issues raised by Brexit, but that was before the report was shown to be incorrect.

Neither Norway’s current conservative government coalition nor the Labour Party in opposition want to do anything, meanwhile, that would put Norway’s trade pact with the EU into play. Elisabeth Vik Aspaker of the Conservatives, who currently serves as Norway’s government minister in charge of EU relations, repeated that the government needs to wait for clearer signals from both the EU and the UK before launching into any post-Brexit negotiations. She’ll be meeting with the UK’s minister in charge of Brexit issues, David Davis, later this month.

newsinenglish.no staff