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TRADE

Danish dairies say no to Norway

Dairy producers in Denmark have said they won’t export butter to neighbouring Norway, despite moves by Oslo to cut tariffs as the country battles to get the product back on supermarket shelves.

Danish dairies say no to Norway
Photo: David Masters

Norway, like Sweden and Finland, has been hit by a major butter shortage in recent months. The Nordic trio have seen less raw milk available annually amid soaring demand for high-fat dairy products such as creams, butters and milk.

The scarcity is exacerbated by consumer preferences for natural, locally produced products, an annual decrease in total milk production, fewer dairy farmers, and seasonal variations related to milk production.

But while the Danes are happy to help out the Swedes and the Finns, Norwegian shoppers look set to be left in the lurch with Christmas looming.

Oslo has slashed import tariffs on butter for the month of December in an attempt to attract foreign producers, but leading Danish dairies remain unimpressed.

“We’ve been bashing our head against an excise wall in Norway for more than ten years, so we don’t have enough faith in a little hole in the wall to start sending butter via that route,” said Mogens Poulsen from dairy Thise Andelsmejeri to news website foodculture.dk.

Danish news reports said the country’s other main dairy producers were similarly disinclined to make a beeline for the Norwegian market.

“We can’t start building something up only to dismantle it again three weeks from now,” said Arla spokesperson Theis Brøgger to foodculture.dk.

Arla offered 50 tons of industrial butter to Norway’s biggest dairy, Brøgger added, but it was unhappy with the quality and turned the offer down.

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TRADE

Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal

Norway and the United Kingdom have struck an agreement on a free trade deal, the Norwegian government announced on Friday.

Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal
Erna Solberg outside 10 Downing Street in 2019. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP)

Negotiations over the agreement have been ongoing since last summer, and the Norwegian government said that the deal is the largest free trade agreement Norway has entered into, outside of the EEA agreement. 

“The agreement entails a continuation of all previous tariff preferences for seafood and improved market access for white fish, shrimp, and several other products,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.  

One of the sticking points of the negotiations was Norway wanting more access to sell seafood in the UK, while the UK wanted more access to sell agricultural products like cheese.

The latter was a problem due to Norway having import protection against agricultural goods. 

“This agreement secures Norwegian jobs and value creation and marks an important step forward in our relationship with the UK after Brexit. This is a long-term agreement, which at the same time helps to accelerate the Norwegian economy,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.  

 The United Kingdom is Norway’s second most important single market, after the EU. In 2020 Norwegian companies exported goods worth 135 billion kroner to the UK and imported around 42 billion kroner of goods from the UK. 

Norway has given Britain 26 quotas on agricultural products, but not for mutton and beef. The agreement does not increase the UK’s cheese quotas, state broadcaster NRK have reported. 

The agreement will still need to be signed by both the Norwegian and UK parliament. 

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