Seafood exporters fearing a “hard Brexit”

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Norwegian companies are preparing as best they can for what is happening in connection with Brexit.

“It is quite clear that those who export salmon, and have agreements with the UK, will notice,” says general manager Kristin Bergstøl Hansen at the salmon processor Slakteriet to NRK.

The company, which turned 30 this year, employs 48.5 full-time equivalents people. In 2018, Slakteriet had a turnover of EUR 13.4 million. The company slaughters salmon and trout from independent fish farmers in Florø and in Brekke, Western Norway.

The latest from the British Isles is that the opposition has won a vote to ask Brussels that the EU withdrawal be postponed to 31 January to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without an agreement on 31 October. Hope is then to get an agreement in place by the end of January.

A “hard Brexit” can cause fish to remain on the border, but Bergstøl Hansen says she knows very little about the consequences. In April, an agreement was also established between Norway and the United Kingdom in the event of “hard Brexit”, where important provisions for trade in goods that are currently regulated by the EEA agreement are being continued.

Another Florø company, the salmon exporter Norwell, has previously stated that they will not take the chance to ship salmon to the UK if they are left without an agreement with the EU.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide is open and honest about the risk with exporting seafood to the UK.

“We have done what we can, but the uncertainty in the business world is real and there is a lot that is beyond our control.”