EFTA and UK agree free-trade deal

04.06.2021 - 12:36
guðlaugur þór þórðarson ræðir fund norðurskautsráðsins 17. maí 2021
 Mynd: RÚV/Freyr Arnarson
Iceland, alongside its EFTA partners Norway and Liechtenstein, has reached a deal with British authorities for a new free trade agreement. The countries’ foreign ministers are meeting early this afternoon online to confirm the agreement.

The agreement provides mutual access to all the countries’ markets for goods and services, as well as public procurement. The contract negotiations started formally in September and a temporary agreement has been in operation since 1st January when the UK cut its ties with the European Union. 

In a ministry statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson says a free-trade agreement with the UK has been one of the priority tasks of his time at the ministry. 

“I have put a lot of emphasis on ensuring a good future relationship with the UK after its exit from the European Union and I am convinced that this contract will strengthen the economic and friendship ties between Iceland and the United Kingdom for a long time to come,” Guðlaugur Þór says. 

The contract includes stringent commitments in several fields, including working rights, emissions cuts, and environmental protection. It also includes a dedicated chapter on equality and the empowerment of women in business. It is the first time such a section is included in a free-trade agreement Iceland enters into. 

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