Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation, has signed on behalf of Iceland a new Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. He says that the FTA marks a new beginning in the relations between Iceland and the UK.
The new Free Trade Agreement was signed in London today by Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, Iselin Nybø, Minister of Industry and Trade of Norway and Ranil Jayawardena, Minister for International Trade of the United Kingdom as well as Foreign Minister Thórdarson.
"The Free Trade Agreement between the UK and Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein we have signed today marks a new beginning in the relationship between our countries. I am very pleased with the outcome as I am convinced that this agreement will boost our economic relations and strengthen the ties between the nations even further. This signing is historic in every sense of the word,” says Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation of Iceland.
The new free trade agreement is progressive and comprehensive covering most areas of trade between the states and related rules. The agreement provides mutual access to markets with specific conditions in relation to trade in goods, in services and public procurement. Iceland’s core interests, with respect to trade in goods, are guaranteed, including trade in fish and agricultural products. The Agreement also facilitates trade in services between the states in addition to providing access for Icelandic businesses to public procurement in the United Kingdom.
"In light of the fact that the United Kingdom remains one of Iceland’s most important export markets and the close ties between the countries, the conclusion of an agreement with the United Kingdom was vital,” says Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation of Iceland.
The agreement contains ambitious commitments in the area of environmental protection and the battle against global warming as well as commitments in the field of labour law. It also contains a special chapter on gender equality and women’s empowerment in trade.
Formal negotiations between the EFTA states within the EEA and the United Kingdom formally began in September last year following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. The withdrawal affected the relationship between Iceland and the United Kingdom significantly and demanded that many agreements between the two countries be renegotiated. An interim agreement on trade in goods that entered into force at the beginning of the year will now be superseded by this permanent free trade agreement. Air Transport Agreement between Iceland and the United Kingdom was signed last December.