Faroese post-Brexit trade deal welcomed in Grimsby

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 4 Feb 2019

A key trade agreement for Grimsby post Brexit has been secured.

The Faroe Islands and the UK have signed a continuity deal to ensure vital supplies of fish continue to enter the town on a weekly basis. 

Seafood worth £200 million is transported annually, with only Iceland and Norway providing more fish into the UK market.

FISH DELIVERY: Eimskip's Lagarfoss vessel, carrying seafood, arrives at Immingham. 

Equidistant between Scotland and Iceland, vessels carrying containers of cod and haddock south from Reykjavik call and collect en-rout to Immingham. Estimates put supply into the town at 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes a year.

MORE: How Brexit could recalibrate the Humber logistics sector

Martyn Boyers, chief executive of fish market operator Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises, takes about 40 per cent of the supply, with the remainder bought direct by processors.

“This is very much welcomed by us,” he said. “It is very important. The Faroes are up there with Norway and Iceland when it comes to supply, not just for the market but the town itself. This agreement will be welcome by a lot of  businesses. It is progress, and we’d like to see more follow, but what will be will be. It is not just fish, there are other commodities, but this is the first and it shows we can get to an arrangement.”

Trade Policy Minister, George Hollingbery signed the UK-Faroe Islands agreement in London with Faroese Minister for Trade and Industry, Poul Michelsen. Fisheries Minister George Eustice attended the ceremony, highlighting the importance of the UK’s relationship with the Faroe Islands and the importance of Faroese exports for the UK processing sector.

The agreement will allow imports to continue tariff-free and enable businesses to trade as freely as they do now. Atlantic salmon, haddock and halibut are key species.

SEAFOOD SUPPER: Lagarfoss heads back out of Port of Immingham.

Mr Hollingbery said: “This agreement is the latest in a series of continuity agreements to be signed by the UK and will help give UK and Faroe Island businesses, exporters and consumers the certainty they need to continue trading freely and in confidence as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

“The Faroe Islands is an important trading partner for Britain and this deal will help ensure that British businesses and consumer continue to have greater choice at lower prices.””

The new agreement replicates the existing trading arrangements as far as possible. It will come into effect as soon as the implementation period ends in January 2021, or on March 29 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Read more: Taste of the Far East sees top award return to Grimsby with JCS Fish

As the news sank in this morning (Monday, February 4) there was a strong showing of Faroese fish on the market, where a "decent start to 2019" has been welcomed.

Grimsby Fish Market is investing again with a third grading machine, bought with European grant support, with infrastructure alterations also being made to the market to expand the grading area and improve the loading bay.

"We're investing and we are quite positive about everything," Mr Boyers added. 

FILL THEM UP: Eimskip vessel Lagarfoss heads out to the Humber. 

Icelandic officials have previously told Humberbusiness.com how they are confident a deal will also be in place with the UK come Brexit.

Mike Lane, managing director of Eimskip UK Ltd, said: "I think this is important. It seems very positive and will be a real boost to cargo flow if imports remain tariff free. We're trying to get as much information as we can to follow what changes could happen, and the biggest thing people are worried about are tariffs." 

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