The Norwegian ’option’ was touted as one alternative for the UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit
Farmers could favour a more protectionist Norwegian-style trade policy post-Brexit, according to speakers at the Oxford Real Farming Conference.
During the run up to the EU referendum, the Norwegian model was touted as one alternative for the UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit. Norway is not part of the EU, but is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has a trade deal with the EU.
Simon Fairlie, Monkton Wyld Court micro dairy, said: "What is interesting in Norway is agriculture and fisheries are excepted from the deal which allows tariffs and control of exports and imports.
"This way ahead seems to be favoured by most of agriculture."
Norway operates a more protectionist policy to support its domestic farming system.
Imports of some agricultural products such as meat, milk, and cereals into Norway are subject to high tariffs while products not produced in Norway are subject to lower or no tariffs.
Stein Brubaek, cheesemaker and leader of the international committee in the Norwegian small farms union, said the system developed following the 1930s when many farms went bankrupt.
"They made a new law saying all products in Norway should be sold on the Norwegian market," he said.
"There should be no overproduction. We have campaigns to make sure this is sold within Norway.
"We import if there is a shortage. Suddenly, when there was a shortage of butter, the co-op was given the responsibility to supply the market with butter."
For the system to work, Mr Brubaek suggested at least 50 per cent of the market needed to be controlled by co-operatives.
"It is also dependent on strong farmers unions which have the right to negotiate with the Government every year," he added.
"It relies on strong political involvement, strong cooperatives and strong unions."
However, he added the system was 'not perfect' and there was pressure from EU overproduction to open the market.