Home » Politics » Brexit Britain urged to sign new trade pact with Greenland to confront EU ‘hard-balling’
Brexit Britain urged to sign new trade pact with Greenland to confront EU ‘hard-balling’
February 1, 2021
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Greenlandic business magnate Henrik Leth says he wants to send his huge shipments of fish to our shores instead of the bloc after years of putting up with EU bullies. But he warned the UK’s trade tariffs are forcing his and other businesses to divert their supplies to Europe. Greenland, the first country to quit the bloc in 1982, has called on International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to open negotiations to cut the cost of sending thousands of tons of seafood to the UK every year.
Foreign minister Steen Lynge told Express.co.uk: “We have been very proud to supply key ingredients to both Britain’s national dish, cod and chips, as well as its favourite sandwich, prawn mayonnaise, for many years.”
Mr Leth, of Greenland’s largest private firm Polar Seafood, said an agreement would help slash the price of cod and keep fish and chips on the menu in Britain.
And the businessman insisted a new UK-Greenland trade pact would help the Arctic state fight back against Brussels.
He accused eurocrats of attempting to squeeze Greenland into signing an inferior deal after losing its main consumer within the bloc, the UK.
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Mr Leth said: “We were pushed quite hard to make a fisheries agreement with the EU many years ago as a condition to have access to their market. But now, the biggest market within that, the UK, has disappeared. We should be paying less money for access but it is the same cost.
“The EU is always telling us the Arctic region is so important, but when we want to come to an agreement on fish they don’t want a deal at all.
“They’ve been pushing very hard and threatening Greenland that the agreement won’t be as good as they have made with other countries – the EU plays hardball.
“I’ve been participating in these agreements for almost 30 years – the first time was in 1992 – they say all the right things, a lot of love in their words, but when it comes to giving something that supports Greenland, they do not.”
Mr Leth warned Britain faces a seafood shortage unless ministers cut a temporary 20 percent trade tariff on imports from the Arctic country.
The businessman said he could ship just 2,000 tons of prawns to Britain – four-times less than the annual average.
Mr Leth warned Greenlandic prawns make up 60 percent of our domestic, adding: “Our UK stocks could soon run out.”
An agreement would protect thousands of jobs and stop other coastal states from driving up the price of the nation’s favourite takeaway, he added.
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He said: “As other countries are left alone in this space they will see an opportunity to raise their prices, as Norway has already done.”
A Department for International Trade spokesman said: “We are in regular contact with the Greenland Government and businesses to ensure the smooth transition to these new trade arrangements and ensure that any potential disruptions in trade are kept to a minimum.
“We are continuing to work with the Greenland Government resolve outstanding issues.”
Greenlandic minister Mr Lynge added: “Our communities have developed and succeeded because of this relationship of delivering high-quality healthy products, and it has been a stable and effective relationship for some time.
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“The key part of this relationship has been a zero-tariff agreement which allows business to flourish on both sides. Without this, both supply in the UK and Greenlandic delivery potentially stalls, contracts can be lost and jobs lost. As there is now ‘a temporary tariff’ of 20 percent, this not only impacts UK retailers and Greenlandic businesses, it also allows competitor countries to raise their prices.
“This is not good for UK and Greenlandic businesses or, ultimately, the UK consumer.
“We are encouraged though, by the signals sent by British officials, that we can work together on changing this back to zero tariffs, and hopefully this can happen quickly, as each hour gone means lost business and ultimately can lead to the loss of jobs and livelihoods for people involved in the trade.”