Securing market access to Falkland Islands squid has emerged as the goal of an urgent British deal with Brussels on the EU’s dialogue on Britain’s interests in the UK.
European diplomats told FT that as part of the future economic relationship between the UK and the EU, the UK has officially represented in the recent weeks to preserve tariff-free trade in the squid Loligo Squid in the South Atlantic Islands.
Squids exported to Europe by the island’s main fishery arrive in the EU via the Vigo port in Spain, and the Falkland government estimates that nearly half of the squid eaten in southern Europe comes from water.
This issue is very important to the Falkland Islands and warns of a massive economic blow if current trade links with squid are not maintained. Exports of Loligo squid and other aquatic products to the EU account for more than 40% of the economic output of UK overseas territories and a third of government revenue.
According to 2018 data, the EU is the destination for about 90% of Falkland Islands seafood exports (by weight).
The dialogue between the EU and the UK will intensify in the coming weeks as optimism deepens with the de facto summit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Union leaders.
European diplomats have said that the UK has to submit written proposals to Brussels to ensure exports under future EU-UK trade agreements. Without this, squid could face a 6% import duty, while other Falkland Islands fish products could be hit with a 18% tariff.
The UK Falkland Islands economy relies heavily on squid export © Miguel Riopa / AFP
The Falkland Islands government warned that if tariffs are imposed, “some markets will be completely lost” and “will have a direct negative impact on the island and the employment economy.”
The British claimed that the issue was a common concern for the EU and the UK, given that Spain-operated ships were responsible for much of it.
However, the British trade rights issue for British fish is politically tied to the European decision to preserve fishing rights in the British waters after Brexit. Brussels insisted that it would not enter into a trade deal with the UK unless access to the British waters was resolved.
Michel Barnier, EU negotiator for Brexit, said earlier this month, “We want a balanced solution that connects access to water and access to the market.” “There would be no trade and economic agreements without agreement on fish.”
EU officials say that Loligo squid is just one example of a product that is highly dependent on the European market. Another example is Norwegian lobster (Nethrops or Langostin), caught by British fishermen in the North Sea, and 90% exported to the EU.
Brussels estimated that 10 of the UK’s 15 most important export species depended more than 90% on the EU market.
According to Eurostat data, the UK recorded a trade surplus for the entire European Union and fish in 2018.
A British government spokesman said, “As stated in the UK government’s approach to negotiations with the UK and the EU, the UK will seek results that support international security and economic interests, acting on behalf of all responsible territories. ”
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