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Francois Assenlineau, the founder of the anti-EU party Popular Republican Union, took to social media after deals valued at a total of £21.6billion were unveiled, with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on Friday. Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg gave an insight into the magnitude of the agreement, describing it as “the largest free trade deal we have ever concluded”.
Mr Asselineau, who advocates his country’’s withdrawal from the EU and the eurozone, subsequently tweeted: “Far from isolating itself from the rest of the world, post-Brexit UK quickly finds its place.
“It has already signed trade agreements with the EU, Singapore and Japan.
“It just signed a free trade agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Liz Truss sealed three more trade deals on Friday
Francois Assenlineau’s tweet
“It is in negotiations with Australia, the US, India, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico.”
He added: “Looking forward to the arrival of the Apocalypse the Europeanists predicted for the English after Brexit, but nothing has arrived yet. #Frexit.”
Hailing the agreement, Mrs Solberg nevertheless admitted: “A free trade agreement will not be as satisfactory as the EEA agreement.
Francois Assenlineau, the founder of the anti-EU party Popular Republican Union
“A free trade agreement means more bureaucracy and increased costs for businesses and citizens, and it is less dynamic than what we have within the EEA.
“The agreement does not remove all barriers to trade either. Some are not resolved.”
Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, welcomed “a historic agreement which marks a turning point in relations between both countries.”
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Erna Solberg, Norway’s Prime Minister
Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson
He added: “The UK is one of Iceland’s most important export markets and, due to the close ties between the two countries, it was considered extremely important to conclude a future deal with the UK at this stage.”
The deal is the first time the three European countries have included dedicated chapters on digital trade and small businesses in any trade deal, making it the most advanced they have done to date.
It significantly cuts tariffs as high as 277 percent for exporters to Norway of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Traditional Welsh Caerphilly, and Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese.
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There are also tariff reductions and quotas on pork, poultry and other goods. UK wines and spirits including Scotch Whisky will also now be recognised in Norway and Iceland.
Reduced import tariffs on shrimps, prawns and haddock will reduce costs for UK fish processing, helping support some 18,000 jobs in that industry in Scotland, East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.
Speaking on Friday, Mrs Truss said: “Today’s deal will be a major boost for our trade with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, growing an economic relationship already worth £21.6 billion, while supporting jobs and prosperity in all four nations at home.”
Ranil Jayawardena tweeted his column for Express.co.uk on Friday
International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena added: “This deal shows that the United Kingdom will continue to be a trade partner of choice, as we set the global trade agenda in areas like e-commerce and climate change.
“More trade and more investment will drive growth and support jobs in every corner of our country.”
The agreement also allows high-skilled professionals to enter Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein for business purposes, means faster and simpler visa processes and includes professional qualification recognition – so nurses, lawyers, vets and other professionals will have a clear route to apply to have their qualification recognised to work in the partner countries.