The Faroe Islands are targeting a free trade deal with Moscow next year to cement their place as Russia’ biggest foreign supplier of fish, a minister said on Tuesday.
The tiny self-governing archipelago is set to become the biggest exporter to Russia according to data from the country’s customs agency reported Reuters.
The group of islands – with a population of only 50,000 – overtook Norway following retaliatory sanctions with the West after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The boom in exports to Russia began in 2013, when the European Union imposed sanctions on the Faroe Islands in a dispute over fishing quotas.
“(That) created major difficulties for our economy. This was when Russia came to the rescue and greatly increased purchases with us,” Foreign and Trade Minister Poul Michelsen told Reuters in an interview.
Thanks to in demand exports of farmed salmon, the Faroese economy has prospered since, growing nearly 7 percent in 2016.
Michelsen said he aimed to sign a final free trade agreement in 2019 with Russia and the remaining countries in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
“Thereby our exports of fish to Russia which now amount to roughly 2.4 billion Danish crowns ($380 million) a year would be formalized, allowing us to maintain this level for a longer period.”