Blog: Brexit fury: Fish prices soar as UK FAILS to strike Greenland deal: ‘Added bureaucracy’ – Express

Brexit: George Osbourne discusses impact on UK economy

Sign up for FREE now and never miss the top politics stories again

Invalid email

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The report detailing these threats to the UK’s food supply and security was launched at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Greenland on Monday. For the UK, Greenland is a significant import source of North Atlantic species like cod, haddock, halibut and snow crab, and the largest import source of cold-water prawns. Accordingly, many of the UK’s most popular dishes — including that British staple of cod and chips — use that originate from Greenland. In fact, in 2020, the UK imported from Greenland a whopping 7,582 tonnes of cooked and peeled cold-water prawns, valued at some £51.6 million.

Foreign policy expert Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes — founder of the think tank the Polar Research and Policy Initiative and director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Greenland — is the author of the report.

He said: “Greenland exports not just finished products to the UK, but mostly semi-finished products that undergo value addition in the UK.

“There is an entire value chain built around Greenlandic fish and fish products within the UK that includes importers, processors, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, fish and chips shops, pubs and restaurants.

“Consequently, the UK–Greenland trade is a key driver of job creation, business growth and inward investment in the UK.

“As these opportunities are often created outside London, their importance may not always be realised in the capital.”

However, he added, “they matter enormously to the UK’s regional economies, especially in those regions that have built relevant specialisms.”

Boris Johson, left, and fishermen, right

The price of fish in the UK is skyrocketing due to supply chain disruptions caused by Brexit (Image: Getty Images)

Fish and chips

Many of the UK’s most popular dishes — including cod and chips — use fish from Greenland (Image: Getty Images)

Trade with the UK is also of significant importance to Greenland, Dr Menezes noted.

In 2020, for example, Greenland’s fish exports to the UK accounted for 11.5 percent of the country’s total exports and more than 12.5 percent of its fish exports.

These exports were valued at a total of more than £72.2million.

And last year this figure had increased to some £77.4million, representing a whopping 12,283 tonnes of fish products.

In 2019, the UK received 35 percent by value of all of Greeland’s exports of cooked and peeled cold-water prawns, alongside nearly 28 percent of all exported cod.

READ MORE:

Fish on sale

Dr Menezes said that ‘added bureaucracy’ has had ‘adverse consequences’ for British consumers (Image: Getty Images)

Dr Menezes added: “The UK is of great strategic importance to Greenland, the economy of which is overwhelmingly dependent on fishing.

“Municipalities such as Avannaata, Qeqertalik, Qeqqata and Sermersooq are leading producers of fish and fish products that make their way ultimately to the UK, and, as such, are greatly dependent on UK–Greenland trade.

“As these are also municipalities where fishing is a major source of employment and revenue generation, their regional economies are acutely sensitive to the ebbs and flows of domestic politics and trade negotiations in the UK, which impact employment and economic development in Greenland.

“The proportion of the population employed by fishing and related industries ranges from two-fifths in Avannaata, to around two-sevenths in Qeqertalik, to a quarter in Qeqqata, to a seventh in Kujalleq, and to an eighth in Sermersooq.”

Ukkusissat, Avannaata, Iceland

Dr Menezes said: ‘The UK is of great strategic importance to Greenland’. Pictured: Ukkusissat (Image: Creative Commons / Algkalv)

As Dr Menezes explains, UK–Greenland trade prior to Brexit was underpinned by the European Union’s agreement with the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

This gave products originating in Greenland tariff-free, quota-free preferential access to the EU — and thus, by extension, the UK.

However, come January 1, 2021, the replacement of the EU’s Common External Tariff with the UK Global Tariff saw Greenland fish and fish products imported into the UK slapped with tariffs of up to 20 per cent.

This, Dr Menezes said, introduced “multiple layers of added bureaucracy which caused near-complete disruption in UK–Greenland trade.

“This has had adverse consequences not only for Greenlandic fishermen and fish companies, but also for British businesses and consumers.”

DON’T MISS:
 [ANALYSIS]
 [INSIGHT]
 [REPORT]

Prawns on a spoon

Greenlandic seafood companies fear the UK could be left with no cold-water prawns come Christmas (Image: Getty Images)

Although the UK has introduced a scheme to ensure that British Overseas Territories retain tariff-free access to the UK, this does not extend to the OCTs associated with the EU, including Greenland.

Dr Menezes said: “Despite the UK repeatedly stating its intention to roll over existing agreements as much as possible, Greenland finds itself in an entirely precarious position.”

Greenland, he added, is faced with “having lost the preferential access to the UK it traditionally enjoyed under the EU–OCT arrangement and not gaining similar preferential access to the UK under the UK–OT arrangement.

The UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences also does not make any provision for Greenland, while the legislation of autonomous tariff rate quotas (ATQs) and duty suspensions on certain fish products forces Greenland to compete with other countries to secure such.

Furthermore, the fact that these quotas are met early in the year means that this situation does not replicate the trade conditions in existence prior to Brexit, despite the UK’s stated intention that it would.

The fear among Greenlandic seafood companies is that even those ATQs for which their products may be eligible will run out by late summer this year — leaving the UK, for example, with the risk of no cold-water prawns over the Christmas period.

Industry actors in both the UK and Greenland have called urgently for the development of a bilateral preferential trade agreement between the two countries.

Despite this, Dr Menezes concluded, “Trade negotiations between the UK and Greenland were formally launched only on 27 January 2022, and have been proceeding rather slowly, with no agreement in place.

“One of the limiting factors has been the lack of adequate information about the bilateral trading relationship, its rich but complex history, the implications of Brexit, and the specific challenges it currently faces.

“The new report, which comprises the most detailed overview available of the UK-Greenland trade in fish and fish products, aims to provide a helpful and comprehensive resource to policymakers and negotiators on both sides of the negotiating table, in order to expedite – not just guide – the negotiations.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s