Politicians in the Storting held a heated debate over backing the deal, which saw concerns raised that the agreement could see Norwegian farmers and agriculture sold out to UK counterparts. Emilie Enger Mehl, leader of the Centre Party in the Storting said the trade deal weakens “customs protection for chicken, pork and vegetables”.
Speaking during the debate, he added: “The Centre Party does not support that Norway in negotiations always ends up giving a tariff reduction in the agricultural field, because we have few tariff walls otherwise.
“A shortcoming of the agreement is that it has not been impact assessed.”
Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes, the Social Left (SV) party’s business policy spokesperson said the deal had not been scrutinised enough by trade bodies and politicians.
He added: “So here we have big questions without answers, and we in SV are very critical of and very concerned about the way this is treated by the Norwegian parliament, which will be the defender of Norwegian democracy.”
But Liberal party politician André N. Skjelstad, added: “Brexit is a strong warning to us in Norway that we must not call it quits with our trade agreements.
“The EEA agreement is fundamental to our economy, our jobs and Norwegian welfare.
“The agreement with the British is important for Norway, there is no doubt about that. We must have a good agreement with the British, and we have got it.”
Presenting the agreement to the Norwegian Parliament, Trade Minister Iselin Nybø stressed the deal significantly would benefit Norwegian businesses.
She added: “In record time, in the midst of a pandemic, we have negotiated a comprehensive free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.
“I am very happy with the result. It is crucial for Norwegian business and industry that we can maintain and compete for market shares in one of our most important markets.
“This agreement provides the long-awaited predictability for companies and investors.
“The aim of the negotiations has been to ensure that Norwegian companies have as good access to the British market as EU companies.”
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Voting, Oslo politicians voted 79 to 9 in favour of the deal led by the Conservative party, Christian Democratic Union and the Liberal Party.
Under the deal, which also includes Iceland and Liechtenstein, tariffs of up to 277 percent on cheese exported from the UK are set to be cut.
The UK Government claims the deal also will allow caps on roaming charges and simpler visa processes for highly skilled workers.
Without a trade deal being agreed, duties on UK imports from Iceland and Norway could have increased by an estimated £65million under World Trade Organisation trading arrangements.
A source close to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, said today: “The passing of the deal in the Parliament is certainly a big win for the UK and Norway.”